Do I Have To
"Do I have to?" The words hung in the air between us. Me, confined to the sofa for another day of pain, and Bobby, 13 and frustrated. "No." I answered, meaning yes, please, can't you help out just this once. Years of giving in, not wanting my only child to suffer. Children should have fun. Isn't that right?
If I were a normal healthy mom, I would be doing the laundry and the cleaning myself. In the back of my mind I knew that I was doing him no good, but I couldn’t bear to see the hurt or the anger. It was easier to give in, to put the smile back on his face. I’d feel better later, and I could do it then.
It isn’t Bobby’s fault that I had that terrible accident. He deserved a mom without a disability; one who could have ridden bikes with him or tossed a ball around. Life had been unfair to him. Not that I thought it had been exactly fair to me, but what is fair anyhow? I knew dozens of people worse off that I was. Who was I to complain?
My attention focused back on Bobby, “No, you don’t have to, but it would mean so much to me if you would try. Just see how much you can accomplish in the next hour, then you can go to Jack’s house for a while.”
"But really? Mom? Do I have to do it now?" he pleaded.
"Yes. You really need to do it now, son."
The eyebrows went up, eyes rolled, but I held my ground. It was like I could hear Dad saying, “Now or never. Do you want to mold him into a man or keep him as your child for the rest of his life?” I thought of my brother. I knew it was time to step up. To require more, not for me, for him!
As he dragged his feet pathetically down the hall to the laundry room, I knew I’d answered his question in the best possible way.