My Son the Musician

by Chloe Jeffreys · 19 comments

in Adult Kids

My son had his first paying gig with his band last night. I was all excited about it when suddenly he called to tell us that there was a SNAFU.  Suddenly my excitement was replaced with panic. I started to feel anxious and stressed for him. I even felt angry at him for allowing himself to be in this dire position. I didn’t raise an idiot! Why does he get involved with flaky people? I taught him better than this!!!

My Son Wants to be a Musician. Great.

Why does it feel like my children’s struggles are somehow my fault? Somehow I know that when his band bombs everyone in the audience will know that his mommy failed to teach him any better. I know this is a ridiculous thought. My son lives in a large city 800 miles away. Nobody in the audience is going to know I’m his mom. But they’ll know he had a mom and somehow she was lame!

Although I don’t really say anything,  he realizes that I can’t handle his problem and says, “I gotta go, Mom. I love you.”  I get off the phone and think about how hard it is to detach from my children and yet stay intimate with them. And then I spend the rest of the day consciously detaching from his debacle while simultaneously making myself think loving thoughts about him. I seem to have to do that a lot. I suppose this is the dark side of being an attachment parent. Eventually the day does arrive when you have to let go and watch them fly or get eaten by the cats.

Apparently, he was able to solve his problem in the end (without me!) and the show went off without a hitch.

I just got off the phone with him. He said it went “Awesome!”  The crisis was averted at the last moment, everybody showed up and played their parts well, and all was saved!! YAY!

We both started laughing. He says something funny, I say something supportive (even though inside I want to yell, “Wolfie, what are you doing bothering with flaky musicians! You are better than this!”). He says something endearing and that he loves me (This time it sounds like he means it). I say I love him back (I really mean it).

I get off the phone with a silly smile and think, “Well done, Chloe. This totally could have gone another way.”

And I realize once again that I really only have a supporting role in my children’s lives now. This is hard after years of being the producer, director, screen writer, costume and set designer, casting director, and principal lead.

A couple of years before my mother died she said, “It sucks to reach the end and realize that you only had a bit part in your own life.” At the time I thought her statement was very pathetisad (a perfect word my mother invented years ago which combines all the pathos of pathetic with all the sadness of sad), but I think I’m beginning to understand what she was saying.

Oh yeah, and I guess I’m writing again.  It seems I hit a bad patch and just couldn’t show up for my own gig here at The Chloe Chronicles. But like I said, I’ve heard that some artists can be temperamental.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Leonana/Sherry July 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Oh my goodness, I just went through something similar today. And she’s only 11! It’s nice to read the experiences of someone who has been there, and to know I’m not alone. Glad you’re back!


Missus Wookie June 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

See I knew I should have read this last week BEFORE teaching my course ‘it sucks to be a bit player in your own life’ is perfect for one of the handouts 🙂 Glad you didn’t offer to drive down and sit in on the drumming… kids hate to be upstaged by their parents 😆
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Megan (Best of Fates) June 6, 2012 at 7:41 am

That sounds tough but you seem to have handled it perfectly – great job!
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Stephanie June 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

Mine are all teens now and I find myself struggling to find the appropriate balance between stepping back and being involved. I never imagined it would be so painful to let go and mine haven’t even left home yet. Thankfully, posts like this and my own upbringing are reminders of how crucial it is to make this transition, regardless of my own feelings. You did well in your conversation with Wolfie. *high five*


Annie Mesa June 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I am just reading Jodi Picoult’s novel “Lone Wolf,” and there is a passage that had me nodding yes to, as does your post…”I don’t have to tell any mother what it’s like to have a son leave. It happens a multitude of natural ways—summer camp, college, marriage, career. It feels as if the fabric you’re made of has a hole in its center all of a sudden, yet whatever weave you use to fix it is sure to be a hatchet job. I don’t believe any parent moves gracefully into the acceptance that a child doesn’t need her anymore…” Sometimes I just want my babies back in the nest!


Shorty June 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Bravo! The production was a smash; now there are two sequels in the works. You will cheer from the audience now. Well done.


Robin June 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Yes. Yes. Yes. Writer, producer, director, choreographer… great comparison.

One day my own son snapped me out of my standard “Here’s a great way to keep from having that_____ happen in the future” speech. He looked me in the eye and said, “There you go finding fault again.”
I was stunned that for his entire life he never heard me giving helpful input. He heard criticism. It was really hard to say thanks for that insight, but I did and I meant it. But I still need the reminders now that he’s technically an adult. It’s crazy hard!!
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Pamela June 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

This was perfect. Thanks for writing it all out for us – I needed every word.


Sharon June 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm

soooooooooooo struggling with this!!


Kristi R. June 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm

As a mother who semi-practiced attachment parenting, I understand somewhat what you are saying. I have to practice silence with one child (18 yo) and still be very involved with the other (17 yo). They may be close in age but are miles & miles apart in what they need from me. Knowing that others have walked this tortuous path and are willing to give snippets of btdt is invaluable.

I am very glad you are writing again, for publication. Dare I hope there will be a return of Man Candy Mondays? I have missed those.


Susan in the Boonies June 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I didn’t do attachment parenting, and, not to brag, but, but I doubt you could find many moms more unhealthily bound up in their kids woes than I am. I think, for many of us, it just comes with the whole mothering gig.

Not that I’d know much about that…
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Anne (@notasupermom) June 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Yay, you are off the ledge and haven’t stomped yourself in two, Chloe-stiltskin!

Good for Wolfie. I hope the band comes up with a cool name and logo that looks good on their groupies’ tattoos.
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Kristi June 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Do you think it’s possible to “prepare” for this season in life, or do we not really know what it’s going to entail until we’re there? I ask because, frankly, it scares the bejeebers out of me!

Glad to see you writing again 🙂


By Word of Mouth Musings June 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Love that you are here today. Keep all your creativity flowing my dear and just pour it out … you have been missed!
This parenting ‘gig’ is a tough one to be sure … and that is why there is wine 😉
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narcease June 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Thanks for sharing your experiences here! My daughter is nearly-16, so we’re a couple of stops behind you on this ride, but even now it seems to me that my biggest job is backing the hell up so that she gets enough sunlight to flower.


Smyles June 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Glad to see you are back!!


Julia June 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I needed to read this today. Thanks. 🙂 I’m glad to see you’re writing again, especially on the whole parenting topic. I need to hear from someone down the parenting road from me — someone who can look at where I am and say “oh yeah, that was rough; it gets better.”

Loving the whole “artists can be temperamental” line. Can scientists be temperamental as well?!


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