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.
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.