It is really, really hard to be a parent. And not just a parent, but an involved and level headed parent. As my boys get older, the adventures become more complicated and the issues move way beyond giving up a sippy cup or finishing your homework before cartoons. Case in point? My oldest decided it would be a great idea to pierce his ear with a push pin and took an old silver snowman stud out of my jewelry box to highlight his handiwork. Sigh. I kept hoping it would hurt enough to put an end to it quickly, but his ear hasn’t fallen off so far. I comfort myself with the fact that a boy’s reasoning skills do develop eventually, but the latest research puts that at about twenty- eight. That’s thirteen more years of slightly stupid.
A good girlfriend of mine was commiserating on the phone with me the other night as she too has a teenage boy. She told me that he had explained to her matter of factly that he was going to have sex once as a freshman, twice as a sophomore, and then probably a lot as a senior. He said this with a straight face too. She is a smart and thoughtful mom, and she calmly replied that it doesn’t really work that way. I thought about a sermon I had heard once in which Louie Giglio described trying to stop having sex once you start, “It’s like trying to push a freight train back up a hill. It ain’t gonna happen.” I can’t wait to hear how that conversation works out so I can take notes.
The latest “situation” involved my oldest son making a poor choice along with several of his buddies at my house…while I was there. After reading the boys the riot act and sending everyone home, I deemed two weeks of grounding appropriate punishment for the issue. My son wisely did not argue and has puttered around doing his time by painting his room, going to Home Depot with me, and having the torture pleasure of hanging out at home with me a lot. I give him credit for not complaining, although maybe the twitch in my eye that has been there since the incident and the startling amount of gray hair that has suddenly sprouted along my hairline is just scary enough to remind him to avoid eye contact with me.
When I was in panic mode, I sent another friend with a son slightly older than mine, a text message ranting and raving over what had happened. She noted that she had never seen me use the word “hell” so much in a text in the whole nine years she has known me! We bemoaned the fact that there is no handbook that tells you how to handle situations that our kids get into. I always thought my parents just knew everything because they were the grown-ups. But I also thought that when I grew up, I could spend my money on whatever I wanted-ahahaha! My friends are equally amazed and distraught at the stupid things our sons have gotten themselves into and we spend many hours talking about this. A girlfriend sent me an email that simply said she was praying for me, she completely understood and she loved me more than a fat girl loves cake. I was laughing as I started to reply back to her, but my son interrupted me to tell me he is thinking of using a golf tee to put a gauge in his ear, seriously. Where the hell is that handbook???
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