TEENAGE BOYS……………………….. I really don’t know what more to say.
If you are blessed to have one of these in your home, then you can go ahead and give me the empathetic smile with a head nod to let me know that you feel my pain. If you are blessed enough to have TWO in your home, then you don’t have to say anything because I can probably tell just by looking at the fear and exhaustion in your eyes as you rock in the fetal position in the corner.
These two creatures who inhabit my home make my head spin on a daily basis.
They are amazing to watch because they are such a difficult to understand species – they are paradoxical.
One day you are BEGGING them to speak to you. Wishing, hoping and praying that their iphone may die so that they will have to take their ear plugs out to ask you for a charger. And just maybe, if you are lucky, you can find out how their day at school went during that microscopic window.
The next day they WON’T SHUT UP. Lately this has been a constant stage for my son. Every time he speaks though, I tense up completely. Here is a typical way a conversation starts:
My boy: “Hey mom, guess what?”
Me: “Is this something I am going to want to hear?”
My boy: “Probably not, but you won’t believe it…”
All the while he has a mischievous grin and is eyeing me to read my uncomfortable body language and to see the blank look in my eyes as I try to look unfazed.
Most recently he decided to tell me all about his school project. On the face that seems like an innocent conversation, but it was a health project. Apparently they got to choose any topic they wanted and my sweet little boy chose…. gulp, GONORRHEA. And since he chose that topic, he has been reveling in filling me in with every revolting detail while I sit and try with every ounce of my being to keep the mask of interest on my face.
I should be happy he wants to still talk to me at all, right??? RIGHT?????? (ugh)
His attempts to disturb me are nothing new though. I will never forget having a very serious heart to heart with my kids one day about their future. I pronounced the importance of education while trying to influence them to choose a respectable profession. At the end of my scholarly conversation I said, “Now what would you like to be when you grow up?” My sweet little boy quickly said, “A tattoo artist… no, a bartender.” Even at 6 years old he knew how to push my buttons.
His newest obsession is fishing. He can NOT get enough of fishing. I get text messages every day begging me to take him to Dick’s Sporting Goods store as soon as I get home from work. Although that is only a few miles away, it is down Capital Boulevard which is beastly to travel between 5 and 7pm. Usually I just get this text:
I would much rather both boys fish every afternoon than sit inside and play video games or watch television.
The problem with fishing is that we have to just let them go and trust them. It allows them an independence that can be frightening for a parent. This boy who I spent years trying to protect and shield – who has relied on my for pretty much everything – wants to go off on his own. He wants to chart his own territory. I should be proud, but it scares me.
How do I know what he is getting into? They seem to know so much more than we knew at their age… How can I trust him to make good decisions when his priorities and thoughts differ so much from my own?
A good example of our differing thought processes happened this week. Next Monday is the last day of school. I decided that I want to head on to the beach with the kids on Sunday so we can stay an extra full day, so I told the kids (proudly holding my imaginary mom of the year trophy) that they could miss the last day of school. My son immediately stomped on my pride as he said, “But MOM, I WANT to go to school on the last day.”
For days now I have felt bad that I was robbing him of his last day of school – WHAT KIND OF MOM DOES THAT???? Then it hit me…
So I asked him, “Do you want to go to the last day of school because of fights or something?” And he said, “YEAH!! There are supposed to be tons of fights and a huge food fight in the cafeteria… Last year the principal got on a table in the lunchroom to stop the food fight and I don’t want to miss that this year.”
Teenage boys just think so differently than we do…
Last night after I got home from work I was standing at the kitchen sink watching a crew of boys outside lighting smoke bombs. They were standing close to the house by a cement bird bath in the grass, so I asked Joe, “What are they doing?” Joe simply smiled and said, “Probably putting the smoke bomb under the frog in the bird feeder to make it look like it’s coming out of its butt. That’s what I’d do.” Just as he said it I watched the boys do that very thing.
I was shocked that my sweet husband would even think like that! Then it hit me:
Apparently little boys turn into teenage boys who turn into adult boys… all the while nothing ever changes. That thought brings me comfort because if Joe turned out to be the man that he is today, then I shouldn’t worry about our two boys too much. I have faith in the men they will eventually become…
…even if it’s a tough road to get there.