parent trap

Guiding a child through adolescence is exhausting work. Some days are without incident. And others I can practically see my young one trapped in a rubber bubble trying to punch his way out. Not quite boy, yet not quite man. In-flux.

My 14 has a job. He gets paid minimum wage and has no expenses. It totals out to a lot of money. He comes up with ways to spend little bursts of it. We often guide him and teach him. He wants to be able to spend his money as he sees fit, but we’re still navigating it with him.

(Maybe this weird-o company in China isn’t a good idea. Stick to Amazon. An EBay seller with no ratings? Find someone else.)

Today he presented the idea of purchasing a video game console. (We already have one of a different brand.) Dad said sure. I said no. He’ll be home a total of 5 days in July. Why purchase something that’s going to collect dust while he’s away all month? Why add another distraction to the day?

My son says that I’m tough on him. I make him read 30 minutes. Write a little tiny journal entry each day. Help me in the yard. Do chores. And practice drumming. All before he gets screen time. He resists and tells me his classmates don’t have to do this. Their parents don’t force them into such brutality.

He told me that he’s got the hang of life since he has a job now. (Who helped him compose the cover letter?) He said that I could lay off with parenting. (Where does he live expense-free?) He’s fourteen. I explained that he’s not done learning, and I’m not done teaching. I’m worried. Am I going to have a high school drop out on my hands? Someone who thinks that because he’s making over $9 per hour that he can make it on his own?

Neither of us are done yet. But I’m wondering if we’ll even be speaking when this is all over. Both of my boys left the house without saying good-bye. I know where they’re each headed. But they’re so wrapped up in their own minds and woes that they did not have the decency of a “See you later!” as the door slammed behind them.

I’m tired. They’re tired. I think we’re all ready for the calm of adulthood. What they don’t know yet, however, is that adulthood, while with fewer hormone surges and a fully developed prefrontal cortex, is chalk full of responsibilities and the need for good spelling. So, practicing writing is actually a good thing, son.

I love words. My head swirls with words. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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