Eighteen

I’ve been trying to make the annual birthday post all day today but it just won’t flow. Maybe because I just don’t want to come to terms with the fact that my kid is 18.

HOLY FUCK!!! MY KID IS 18!!!!

No flowery, motherly poetry here. He’s 18!!!

Did you know… my kid is going to vote in the next election??? Oh holy christ, someone hand me a beer.

This is for you, dude. Happy Birthday.

 

Love,

Mom

Watching Apples Grow Into Trees

I didn’t realize just how long it’s been since I’ve posted here. Yes, I’ve been AWOL. Trying to get my head together kinda’ does that. As in any journey through recovery, we always make new discoveries. Yesterday I didn’t just stumble across one; no… it was a brick wall I ran into at full speed – and it wasn’t about me. It was about my kid.

Continue reading “Watching Apples Grow Into Trees”

Sixteen

My son is sixteen years old today. My baby boy – no – my young man, is sixteen.

Remember sixteen, and all that came with it? I had so much fun at sixteen.

I won’t go on again about that tiny bundle I held so many years ago. I write about my son every year, and that seems to make it into the story every time. A mom will treasure that moment for a lifetime, but at some point her child does grow up.

As proud as I am of my boy, the thought makes me a bit wibbly (and, yes, he will always be my “boy”, no matter how old he is).

I’ve been writing a birthday journal entry about my son since he was seven. Most of them are in my private journal.  I’ve looked at all of them today because I’m truly at a loss for what to say on his sixteenth birthday.

I could pour all the motherly love and memories in the world into my entry, but that doesn’t convey what it means to be sixteen, nor does it make this day stand out from any other day. I love him just as much the rest of the year ‘round. I could write “a letter to my sixteen-year-old-self” for my son to read, in hopes of saving him the troubles I experienced and mistakes I made, but the maternal curse is real and he is living proof. He would nod and smile, feign attention, but take it with more than just a grain of salt, because it comes from his mother (as healthy as our relationship may be). He has to see for himself.

So, after sixteen years, I find myself looking at the young man I’ve raised. I’m the luckiest mother in the world and couldn’t ask for a better son.

Happy Birthday, my teenboy. I hope you have as much fun at sixteen as I did. Well…. maybe not that much fun. 😉

Teenboy

Unintentional Prank

I couldn’t have planned this better if I tried. Seriously.

It was 25 degrees Fahrenheit this morning (factoring in the wind chill, it felt like 11 degrees). For those using Celsius, that’s a temperature of about -4, and it felt something like -11 or -12.

The Teenboy has been on winter break for a couple of weeks. Yesterday he made sure to have all his laundry done because I’d been telling him, “You have to get your sleep cycle back on track. School starts back up on Monday.” He set his alarm this morning, dragged himself out of his nice, warm bed, got dressed, and went out to wait for the school bus. One of his friends was there with him.They noticed no other kids were there. At. All.

No busses either.

It was dead quiet. The only sound was the sound of their teeth chattering. His friend finally called his dad, who checked the school calendar. Oops! No school today – it’s a teacher work day. School starts tomorrow!

My Teenboy walks home and gets a hot cup of coffee. He tells me this story and I give him a hug. He pays me back with cold hands on the back of my pajamas. “You’re warm…” he says in his most pitiful voice. “AAAAAAHHHHGHGHGHG!!!!” I reply.

Snow Queen

He drives me crazy

The teenboy is learning how to drive. He’s taking his behind-the-wheel classes, but those do need to be reinforced with practice sessions. Unfortunately, those practice sessions involve me and my car. This brings to mind a song from the ’80’s by the Fine Young Cannibals. I always changed the gender when I sang this song. This morning, as I recall yesterday’s driving adventure, it’s running through my head:

He drives me crazy
Like no one else
He drives me crazy
And I can’t help myself

Really, I must say, for a beginning driver, the teenboy is doing an excellent job. But when we backed out of the driveway yesterday and he forgot to put the car into Drive, he did one of those “drive-it-like-you-stole-it” moves. He did a perfect horseshoe with my tight turning radius, putting the back two tires up on the curb.

This was the only time a scream passed through my lips. Unfortunately, it came with words that sounded something like “What the f*** are you doing?!?!?”

scream

 

He seemed to be just as panicked at the moment.

I then had to keep myself from laughing when he put the hazard lights on, safely pulled out in the direction we needed to go, then turned the hazards off. Do they teach that in Driver’s Ed now?

Mental note, he hasn’t made many mistakes but when he does they scare the bejeezus out of me. At least he only pulls stunts like that once, they scare the bejeezus out of him, too, and he learns from the experience. We’re able to get to our nearby destination, discuss what happened and he can tell me exactly what went wrong and what happened right before that to cause it.

So, what happened right before that to cause his distraction, making him forget to put the car into Drive?

Backing out of our driveway, everything was clear. However, he’s a new driver and he’s moving slow. A car started approaching from one direction. He got nervous. He had the “I-need-to-get-out-of-here” reaction. Unfortunately, he skipped a step. We talked about what happens when you panic behind the wheel and how bad that could have been if we were on a busy street vs. just outside our driveway. Lesson learned.

Bonus points:

  • He quickly recovered from said incident and made it to the busy grocery store without further issues.
  • He navigated the H.E.B. parking lot without hitting any pedestrians.
  • He parked the car perfectly!
  • Unshaken by the crazy people trying to find a parking space in the H.E.B. parking lot, he drove home.

We made it home. Alive.

I had a beer.

Driver’s Ed

The Teenboy’s behind the wheel courses start this Monday. We reviewed the scheduled appointments this month for 3 of his 7 behind-the-wheel classes. The remaining sessions will occur after our trip to Dallas. Of course, he asked if he’ll get to drive part of the way to Dallas. I said no. His freeway classes aren’t until his 6th or 7th class.

“But mom, there might be a clear straight-a-way for a bit.”

“No.”

He’s so eager. I’m so nervous.

Maybe next trip.

 

On Teens, Taking Ownership, and a Very Frustrated Mom

I’ve only got the one teen, but I’ve been assured this is a normal phase for his age. Regardless, I believe it’s important that as parents, we teach responsibility to our kids early. When they start taking ownership for the little things now, it only makes things easier when they get out there in the real world as adults.

There are times I find myself … frustrated with my teenboy.

Oh The Stress

He is 15. At his age, we should not have to remind him about the little things, like things he’s responsible for around the house on a regular basis, or, oh… basic hygiene.

As parents, we have to take ownership in this problem, too. We’ve fallen into the trap of reminding him to take care of these things for far too long. As I recall saying to my sister at the age of 14 when she asked me why I kept forgetting to take my seizure control medications, “Why should I remember? Everyone keeps reminding me.” I was a snotty little teen back then. But at least I smelled good. Why anyone put up with that attitude back then I have no idea…

But I digress.

We’re doing now what someone should have done for me back then. We’re laying out clear expectations.

The boy has a week to adjust, and then he’s on his own. If he doesn’t take responsibility for what’s on his list, he loses privileges (the cell phone we pay for, internet access we pay for, etc…). He enjoys writing and I won’t take that away, but he can write old-style, with pen and paper. I figure one or two times and this won’t be an issue anymore.

The list he has on his door and on the fridge:

Teenboy Responsibilities

 

Some may think this is a bit harsh; however, the teenboy does have an excuse or an argument for delaying, not doing, or forgetting to do everything. We aren’t shutting him down from communication. We want him to communicate proactively. We also want him to communicate if an issue arises (for example, technical difficulties with the washer). Taking ownership of “I forgot” and admitting one’s mistakes is also an important part of growing up.