Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Small Cars and Not So Small Boys

I was *this close* to completely writing off my oldest child tonight. I didn't think I had any more buttons he could discover to push. I was wrong.

I have to continuously remind myself that he's only 14. That he's still more kid than young man. That more often than I'd like, he simply doesn't have the ability to make rational, well thought out decisions. That he's still at that age where its just not possible to envision a future beyond next week.

I also have to remind myself that *perhaps* I push him a bit too much towards the future I have no trouble envisioning for him. Is it too much to ask for that kid to start making plans NOW to set aside a certain number of "family" tickets when he makes it to the Super Bowl and/or the World Series???

This all started tonight when Coach and I were looking in the pantry at the boys' snack boxes. (We have learned that, in order to avoid the whole "he had more than I did" argument, we separate all snacks equally into their own boxes and stick them in the pantry. When it's empty, they get no more until the next time I happen to buy any snacks.) Jock's is almost empty. This would not have been an issue if I had filled that box a couple of weeks ago. However, I just filled it on Saturday. Apparently, all that boy has been doing while he's been off school has been to sit around and eat junk. When he should be training for the baseball season that starts MONDAY!!!

This naturally led to a lecture from Coach on eating healthy during sports seasons and beyond, which in turn led to me attempting to translate the lecture into something that didn't sound so pushy and judgemental, which resulted in a complete teenage shut out.

Didn't he realize that his ticket to college lay in his athletic ability? (You might think I'm exaggerating, but trust me on this one--completely realizable!) Didn't he understand that a steady diet of nothing but chocolate chip cookies and Rice Krispy treats would NOT lead to faster speeds and stronger batting arms? I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

After telling him for at least the fourth time to LOOK AT US while we were talking, I threw in the towel. I walked away from the conversation and went back to making dinner. Coach dropped it, too, and Jock went back to his sulkiness on the sofa.

Later in the evening, as I sat on the sofa, thinking (ok, I'll maybe even cop to a bit of brooding) about the entire thing and wondering how I can get through to him, I witnessed something that turned the light on above my head as bright as it could go. Something that reminded me that I've let myself be deceived by the fact that this boy is shaving, is taller than me, has a shoe size almost equal to his father, and is more often than not fairly responsible. Something that reminded me that he is still Just.A.Boy. Yes, he's working his way out of that, but he's still just a kid.

My 14 year old, freshman in high school, too-cool-for-his-family son was sitting on the floor playing Hot Wheels cars with Bug.

And just like that, I had hope again. I was no longer frustrated with his inability to dedicate himself to his future. I realized that for all his maturity, he's still only 14 years old, and is lost in a world where he has to grow up sooner than he'll admit he wants to. He's fighting growing up in his own way just as strongly as I'm fighting it in mine.

I have never been happier to have those stupid cars all over my living room floor than I am tonight, right at this minute.

So, please......

No one start looking at me strange if you happen to run into me somewhere and you hear me muttering under my breath:

Hot Wheels. Hot Wheels. Hot Wheels.

20 comments:

Flea said...

What a good mama you are. The Hot Wheels are so touching! My 13 year old boy does the same thing. I'm told they don't grow up till about 30.

Sue said...

I feel your pain. Mine is a junior and for the life of me I cannot get that boy to keep all his grades up. There's always one class or another that he screws off in. It isn't that he's not smart enough. The class is boring and not holding his attention, or he doesn't like the teacher or blah blah blah. But his GPA (laughs...what GPA?) has suffered and at the rate he's going there will be no such thing as a scholarship or grant. Hell, he's likely to be on academic probation at the community college, IF he even goes. *sigh* He's aiming for military service. As much as I hate that, it will certainly be an eye-opening experience for him.

Ugh.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

14 is the WORST age. Old enough to know better, and yet, not old enough to know anything. At least he still likes to play with his little brother!

Colleen said...

That sounds like as good a mantra as any! I do not look forward to those teen years.

LunaNik said...

wow, i really like this post. and i really like the whole snack box idea and will be stealing it as soon as my girls are old enough to fish for their own snacks

Karen said...

What a great post!! My son will be 13 in three weeks and I find myself feeling this same way often. He still loves to do all the little childish things that he knows he's not supposed to still like, according to his friends. Thanks for sharing your take on it!!

Mo said...

You know what's funny? Just as I started reading this post I was eating a rice crispy treat. lol

Amy said...

What a great post. You are a good Mom to take a closer look at your teenager and see him for what he is. I love it when life makes us take a second look and re-evaluate our point of view.

Karen said...

Maybe that could be my mantra, too. When my daughter starts playing with my buttons I'll chant Hot Wheels, Hot Wheels!

So glad that you were able to see him for exactly who he was. Sometimes it's hard to step away and see the kid for the adult they actually look like.

The Sports Mama said...

Flea, he hasn't actually played with those cars in ages! But I'm glad he did last night.

Sue, I can relate! Jock has a couple of classes his grades are struggling in. The only thing that keeps them passing occasionally is the threat of not being eligible to play. Unfortunately, that only helps during baseball and football. *sigh*

BB's Mom, he only plays with him when he thinks he's got nothing else to do. :) Well, and when he seems to understand that Bug is feeling left out.

Colleen, there's really nothing you can do to prepare for them! Sorry! Each kid is different, so I really hope your Zoe is an angel for you!

Lunanik, feel free! The idea was all Coach's, and I love it!

Karen, we've been fortunate that Jock's friends don't seem to mind Bug so much. It makes it easier for him to pay attention to his little brother.

Mo, I eat them all the time! :)

Amy and Karen, seeing him for who he really is is probably one of the hardest things to do. I can't say that I always do such a good job, but I can say that I try!

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Great story...Connor is not moody at all - not sure how we lucked out but we did. If anything, my complaint is that he too is resisting adulthood but TOO much in my mind. He seems like a little kid trapped in a getting older body. Guess, with CJ already gone out of the house, I shouldnt be in a rush to get Connor to grow up. But some days, I would love for him to take a shower withour being told to, change his socks, clean his room, do his homework, etc....without being told to. After all, he's 14!

Hallie

*~*Cece*~* said...

Thanks for the reminder. Each night my 9y.o. can't go to bed w/o me going into their room & kissing her goodnight. AND she sleeps w/a night light, still. Each night I have to stop what I'm doing to go in there I think F**k grow up already! But of course each night I go in, kiss her & make sure her light is on.

Youre Hot Wheels will be my "night light". Thanks.

Flea said...

I'll sometimes declare tv, computer free week, just so my kids will play together. If they're not plugged into anything, eventually they get out the board games, or draw on each other with Sharpies ...

Holly said...
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AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

It's so important when they are on that VERY last nerve to find the calming influence. I am so happy you found something that works, but I hope in two years yours is no longer Hot Wheels, cause he's gonna think he's getting some!

Shellie said...

That's a cool post! I get anxious too about my 16 yo growing up but I have to remind myself that even when I was 18 and in my way to college, I had nowhere near the maturity I'm hoping she will have by then. You just can't go from 16 to 44 in 2 years. I'm afraid to feed her to the wolves, so I forget to have faith in her sometimes. Even a lot of grownups are still kids!

Rick said...

Funny post. It won't be long till he'll put the hot wheels down - but never completely away. I picked up a book about collecting hot wheels in a book store the other day - WISHING I had hung on to mine - all collectables according to that book.

Thanks for visiting my blog - good luck on the drawing. Is the 14 yr old the artist?

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Great post! What a nice sentiment at the end.

BTW, don't place too much importance on diet. It lends little to athleticism. Honestly.

If he's got the right stuff, it won't matter if you're feeding him Bon Bons three times per day.

Cecily R said...

I do the same thing with my ten year old. Since he's big for his age and for the most part is mature for his age I forget that he's a little boy. When I volunteer at his school and I see the other kids in his class acting just as insane, I feel better.

I love your sentiment and think I will jump on the bandwagon you seem to have created and chant Hotwheels when I need a reminder.

The Kept Woman said...

That could very well make me cry...espeically given the fact that I'm a totaly wreck when it comes to thinking about my own kids growing up. Are you going to go get him some GI Joes and stuff too to keep that momentum going!?

Personally I'm a fan of the Lincoln Logs.