At 12, my son sometimes balks at being told what to do. He likes to think that he's able to take care of things on his own - though history often says he doesn't do what he needs to without a certain amount of prodding.
I've been going to bed early - before either Darling Man or the Boy even think about going upstairs. Last night I was asleep but heard them come up. Z turned on his light and apparently was going to read a while (it was somewhere around 10pm) and his dad called out to turn off the light. A rather sullen Alright - geez! came from the Boy's room and the light clicked off.
I know he thinks we're strict. And we have talked to him about it several times, explaining why we do the things we do and have the rules we have. It's just part of growing up, this intermittent rebellion.
This morning, after getting bored with the weather loop, he started changing channels on the TV while I got breakfast ready and landed on MeTV, which was airing Family Affair. I laughed and told him I used to watch that when I was a kid - and that it was pretty good. So he watched.
Buffy was chaffing at all of Uncle Bill and Mr. French's rules because she had a friend named Lana who didn't seem to have any rules. She lived with her single mom who was out all the time and left Lana to fend for herself for food, deciding what to watch on TV and when to go to bed. Buffy was envious of the key Lana wore on a string around her neck - a badge of independence. Buffy was tired of being treated like a baby. One day, she got to go to Lana's for dinner after school. Lana's mom breezed in, said hi and left for a date. Lana and Buffy made frozen pizza for dinner and watched a scary movie and dressed up in Mom's clothes and curled Buffy's hair. Then Buffy invited Lana to come home with her after school and spend the night. They did homework first then went out on the terrace to play because Mr. French said so. Bedtime was 8:30 and Uncle Bill came in to tuck them in. The naked hunger on Lana's face was heartbreaking as she realized that having rules meant that someone cared enough about you to make sure you had everything you needed - which included a good meal, a good education and plenty of sleep and love.
When it was over, my boy sat looking at the screen for a moment, then got up, fed the dogs, brushed his teeth and put on his shoes. He got out the form I was supposed to sign for him and was out the door before me.
Sometimes Buffy can say it much better than I can. And he knows without a doubt that his daddy and I love him.