Wednesday, August 6, 2014

That was Then and This is Now

Carson started high school today, so round two of our high school parenting has begun.....only this time.....the boy version.  Surely, the boy version is easier.....and more cost effective than the girl version, but I digress.  When Carson was younger, there were certain things that we used to do to kick off the beginning of school....things that I don't think he would particularly appreciate now.  Since the start of middle school, little by little, there has been a slow progression toward the growing independence of this day.  Being in high school and compounded by the fact that he is a boy, his mother must come to terms with the fact that adjustments have to be made.           

One thing I have a hard time refraining from is buying matching school accessories.  For boys, this is so elementary school.  I ordered Carson's backpack and lunchbox online and I admit.....I had to fight some of the old Mom urges.....like the urge to order the gray and orange L.L. Bean lunchbox that PERFECTLY matched his new orange Under Armor backpack.  The woman in me thought how nice they would complement each other and how put together he would look.  Matchy matchy is awesome in the third grade......it shows the other kids that your mom really loves you when your tennis shoes and backpack coordinate, but, in the 9th grade, it means you have umbilical issues and she needs to back off.  An umbilical cord dragging the floor behind you in the high school hallway is not cool....especially for boys, so I resisted the perfect match and instead ordered the lunchbox that was completely void of color....the steel gray/midnight black.  It's just blah enough to look really manly and mature.   

At about this age, parents must also come to grips with the fact that the pleasure of their company is not requested at the back to school open house like it once was.  With tongue in cheek, I told Carson that his Daddy and I couldn't wait to go with him to pick up his schedule and walk around with him to meet his teachers at the open house.  His eyes grew wide and the color drained from his face as if he'd seen a ghost.  "NO!! NO!!  I got this, Mom...I'm in high school now", he said in a fight or flight tone.  You'd think that Davis wears orthopedic shoes with white knee high socks or that I have a horn growing out of my head and long whiskers on my chin.....oh, wait.....forget that last part.   I know all younger teens go through that time when they're ashamed that they even have parents.  They'd prefer the other kids think that they are a refugee from a foreign land having arrived here by boat on which their parents perished after succumbing to an intestinal illness and, as a result, were forced to survive independently in the wilderness among the forest animals.  I mean, after all, parents are embarrassing.  You never know what they're going to say.  They drive sensible cars, ask your friends dumb questions, and introduce themselves to everybody as your parents.  Death seems like the less painful alternative to walking around with these people at your school.  

First day of school pictures were also always a big event around here.  Oh, I remember lining Blair and Carson up every year on the first day of school.  I'd pose them where you could see their little lunchboxes and backpacks and they'd flash a toothless smile so big that you could see their adenoids.  Granted, picture aversion is more of a teenage boy hang-up as Blair would still be tickled to death to pose for a first day photo shoot if she were here.  Boys....not so much.  "Mom.....no.....Why do you always have to take pictures of every little thing?!!"  Oh, don't worry......you'll get the picture.  It will just look like an ad for the medicinal treatment of constipation and you should just accept that on the front end.   

I try to remember when I drop him off at school or ball that I shouldn't drive right up to the door where people are gathered.  This goes along with the desire to portray the "I don't have parents" image.  I had a bad case of this when I was about his age.  I started telling my mother, "this is close enough....let me out here" about 4 miles from the school.  The worst thing she could do was drive up to where my friends were gathered outside and let me out right there in the middle of them.  I try to remember the horror and not do that.  It is much cooler to just come sauntering up on foot.....leaving everyone to wonder if maybe you snuck out of the house, hot wired your neighbor's car, and then illegally drove yourself there after an afternoon of joy riding because you're just cool like that. 

High school kids also have little patience with a barrage of first day of school questions.  I can relate to this frustration though.  My mother was the founder of exhaustive parental questioning.  She is pictured on Wikipedia under such.  That woman could think of more questions than....well....I don't even have a simile for that.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  She could ask some questions.  I guess that's where I learned the art of the interrogative sentence.  While 6 year olds can't wait to tell you the details of their day, teenagers have little patience with questions regarding who they sat with at lunch, if they met anyone new, and what their favorite part of the day was.  To be respectful, they'll answer two or three before the heavy sighing starts.  I struggle with refrain in this area, but it's apparently a genetic problem that I can't help.    

A few other things that I've slowly said goodbye to over the last few years include, but are not limited to, little boy haircuts with short bangs, juice boxes, starched school pants, monogramming, Lunchables, sending money to school in sandwich bags, grilling one burger per person, class birthday cupcakes, kid menus, and the cheaper boy shoe sizes.               

I think I've done pretty well giving him space to grow.  Some of it, I could feel him asking for and some...we just backed off on our own.  I love everything about being his mom.  There's nothing like a big, growing boy plopping down on your lap and giving you an unsolicited kiss on the cheek.  Underneath the maturing young man who wants to enjoy a little more independence is a little boy who still needs to lay his head on his Mom's shoulder sometimes while they watch tv together.  I can't hold his hand and walk him to his classroom ever again, but he knows that no matter what........I am always holding it in my mind.......I am always here if he needs me.......and I will always see my little boy in his growing face.





         
                       

 
   

                





 

7 comments:

  1. loved this, joni. the mom-son thing is priceless to me. but yes, the high school (& following) years are the awesome time of learning the art of "backing off" while still being close enough to drop everything & buy something that matches should the need arise. i remember shopping for our son's apartment & walking around Bed, Bath & Beyond repeating to myself out loud "this does not have to be cute....this does not have to be cute..." :) soak these years up.

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    1. Hahaha......I love the "this does not have to be cute" chant, Tracey. :) At least, we are here in the event that something does need to be cute.....

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  2. This made me laugh...then cry. My baby boy is only 2, but I've been ultra sensitive these past couple of weeks watching all of my friends send their "babies" off to kindergarten, knowing that my day is just around the corner. But seeing you send your boy off to high school?? Well that's just too much for me to handle. I cling desperately to the hope that he'll still sometimes want to curl up on the couch with me long after I'm not cool, he'll still occasionally share details of his life with me once the teenage angst kicks in (so long as I don't pry too much), and he'll always remember that I was his first love, unconditionally. Being a mom is the best job in the world; being a boy mom is an added bonus. Wishing Carson a great year ahead in high school!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda, and take heart......one thing I have learned about boys is they LOVE their mamas!!! There is a bond there that he will always have with you no matter how old he gets. I even see it in my brothers and my husband with their moms.....don't mess with a man's mama! :)

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  3. I can relate to this. It's kind of freeing to be done with some of it...I rarely miss the school fairs, etc. But, it is hard to take a step back, too. My oldest boy is 16 and my youngest is 12. There's a lot of changing that goes on during those years for sure! :)

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  4. I thought of you this morning. My son told me the only first day of school picture I could take of him and his younger brother was of them driving away in his car. I passed on that generous offer! :) Incidentally, he was wearing an old tshirt with a hole in it that screamed out I'm not dressing up for the first day of school. I knew better than to comment on any fashion choices though. Yep, high school boys are not going to stand for matchy matchy and school pictures!

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    1. Marie, that is hilarious! I don't know what boys' problem with pictures is. Maybe we posed them too much when they were little. Oh, well. I hope y'all have a great school year.....even if it is undocumented....... and full of holes. :)

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