CREDOS: Stubborn love — I

As I walked to the mailbox that Monday, the clouds were the colour of nickel, round and silver and rumbling just a little, like the rattle of a piggy bank. I glanced at the sky as two

or three drops of rain splashed on me. I was not surprised. It seemed like it had been raining on me since I got out of bed.

The storm had started when my thirteen-year-old son, Bob, and I had argued earlier that morning. He’d wanted to wear an old, faded sweatshirt with cutoff sleeves to school, and I insisted on the nice, new shirt his grandmother had given him for Christmas, the kind with the button-down collar and blue monogram on the pocket. I’d pointed to the letters. “It’s not everybody that has his initials on his shirt,” I said reasonably.

He had rolled his eyes to the kitchen ceiling. “Nobody wears initials on their shirts, Mama. Nobody!” Soon we were shouting. He said awful things. I said awful things. Finally he’d yanked on the grandmother-shirt. As he picked up his books, I’d reached over to give

him a hug, but he stiffened and drew back.

The truth was, I wasn’t sure how to deal with Bob since he’d entered the world of adolescence. He’d scarcely arrived in it, and already we were skidding into little puddles of rebellion that left me feeling exasperated. He was a fine boy, a good son, but there were days he questioned everything I said. Days he seemed to test me deliberately. There’d been so much quarreling between us, I was ready to throw up my hands. —