Posts Tagged ‘Teenagers’

Nobody prepared me for raising an adolescent. There simply was no handbook.

That is, unless, you count my mother, who shook her finger at me early one morning when I rolled in two hours well after curfew and she admonished, “Just wait until you have children of your own!”

And that same Nobody failed to prepare me for the digital age of eBay, when my teenaged fifteen year old who drove us all to the beach yesterday without incident, decided to do his Christmas shopping online after choosing the surfboard of his dreams.


His mother loves a bargain but she didn’t fall for this one, other than the photo op…No, the piece de resistance was upstairs among a row of gently used surfboards, suitable for beginners.

Shopping for himself, that is. I had to gently remind him tonight about his budget and what he had (or had not) set aside to buy gifts for his siblings, father and…his mother. Um, hadn’t thought that far ahead. We had a lovely lesson this evening in the blessing of giving, of budgeting, of thinking beyond one’s own means. Of trusting God for the details and of thinking of others before self.

So as I’m preparing supper tonight, I overhear a conversation ensuing on the house phone, regarding fishing apparatus:

“Okay, so I  buy the reel off eBay (inferred: because I think I can convince my mom before you can convince yours). ”

Neighbor kid then says, “Then I’ll trade you the one I have that’s actually worth more. You get your mom to bid on the one on eBay tonight and you can have mine, and you can actually sell it for more.”

“Okay. Lemme ask.” “No, don’t ask…just see if she’ll do it…” “Okay…, but she might not do it until the morning.” “It’ll be gone by then…”

And so it went.

So he approached me in the kitchen in between that last load of laundry getting folded and supper to the table, and he did a very fine job buttering me up.

I smiled and told him no, not until I had a chance to ask Daddy (who was at work) and to contemplate the budget in light of all the flurry of Christmas purchases. This did not set well for anyone, apparently – my son dug in a little further and threatened that if I didn’t “act now,” all would be lost.

So I lectured him about trusting the Lord for all good things and not acting on impulse.


Thank goodness nobody acted on impulse going in the water today – these Portuguese Man-o-Wars were all over the place, breeding season. Their royal purple hues match the royal purple colors at church celebrating the birth of our Christ Jesus, n’est-ce pas? Very timely….and seasonal!

I also reminded him that this same beloved neighbor kid still owed us a Tonka fire truck since 11 years ago he carelessly threw our son’s beloved truck  on to our play dirt pile and broke it. Son and I shared a hearty laugh as we recalled that dark day when both boys were four years old in our yard,  a couple years before Katrina when we all knew no hardships to speak of.

I believe I wrote a poem that day about them – I’ll have to dig that up. It was the one that didn’t get published in a mainstream children’s lit magazine – they chose the one that was glossy, not real.

But in the end my fire truck argument held no water, because que sera sera, and his “must order now” argument held no water, either, because the buck stops here.

I trust that the boys will work out their fishing reel dilemma with or without eBay, with or without the blessing of the mothers, and with or without the decade-old fire truck mishap.

I trust that the Lord will see to all our needs this Christmas and beyond, if we trust in Him and act on faith, not impulse.

May your Christmas be filled with faith, circumspection and hope for all things right and good.

Merry, merry Christmas, my dear readers!

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I support this, I really do.

I’m done spluttering over the triple-digit mobile phone bill that, with shaking hands, I authorized an auto-pay due to be deducted from MY account on the 21st.

It could have been worse…nobody in our family got carried away with porn or anything scandalous like that.

Sweet girl, you have a precious, trendy, age-appropriate name that all the parents were naming their children at that time – and I approve, because it was a name not far from the name of the girl we could never have.

That we would have no girls was confirmed last week after my physical therapist distracted me from my hippie tendonitis (okay, technically Gen-X tendonitis in the hip) by regaling me with a story about how her friend knew a friend who had 10 boys…tried for that 11th, and…it was…another boy. Praise the Lord we stopped at four. I will never look back, and only look forward to my cherished daughters-in-law.

(The problem is, after growing up with big brothers and being outnumbered now by five boys four boys and a husband, I’m not certain I’d know what to do with a female in the family.)

The first two

Eighteen months apart, worlds apart developmentally, and yet the closest any brothers could ever be, even now.

So I greet you with a mixture of welcome relief and suspicious guardedness.

I understand you are fourteen, just like my son. You both are about to turn fifteen, about to start enduring the process of student driving, curfew arguments and ACT preparations. (Wait, WE’RE about to start enduring that.)

I am anticipatorily flexing my right foot for the ghost-brake-pedal in the passenger seat, as I type. I have already asked him whom he would prefer to train with, Dad with his booming, blithering bluster or me with my shrill, squeaky shrieks of sheer terror. He was very diplomatic and said, “Mmmm, either one is fine.” He is a fine, young man, as you can tell.

I am mindful that he is bordering on robbing the cradle, as you had just finished eighth grade as he was entering his sophomore year (I am known for extrapolating).

I am glad you met him through a benevolent venue: as counselors at Zoo Camp this summer, the place his science teacher told us to sign him up for because of his “natural aptitude” in that area. Until you, I thought his natural aptitude was in the field of science. I suppose you can squeeze somewhere into the scientific category. Chemistry? Biology? Let’s stop right there.


He had no idea how close he was to the Tennessee border here…and then, it meant absolutely nothing to him. He had his sights focused on the moon, Mars and the Milky Way. And he still sees stars…

Up until you, he was adept at handling all manner of reptiles, raising various species of amphibians, fishing, hunting and experimenting with hand-made bows/arrows, cast nets and spears. He was blissfully in touch with his inner caveman.

This is a kid who had no shame even as a baby, bypassing the typical kiss by a politician, and instead offering a hearty post-breastfeeding ERF right down the back of said politician – at the capitol – not long before the hapless representative was due out on the floor of the House.

And then YOU came and caught his fancy and made him all conscious about himself.

You might not like him if you saw his bedroom and how often I have to get on him about it. (He assures me the empty Coke cans tipped over on his computer hutch have everything to do with his latest experiment in building a new fishing contraption and nothing to do with careless trash – you need me to post a pic of that?).

He has to be reminded to water his leopard gecko and to clean out the filter for the vicious snapping turtle he caught in the bayou at the end of the road, and defrosting the baby mice for the snake he put into captivity who fell out of the old, oak tree and on to our back deck.

But his sheets are clean, by gum. I see to that. We struggle over getting the hair cut, but I always win (take note). And he thanks me later.

Honey, he tells me you live in Tennessee. Typical of a guy, he failed to obtain critical details like where you are, what school you attend and all that jazz, so I have no way of snooping you out online. He WAS able to tell me you are in another time zone, which narrows it down to Chattanooga or one of those hilly, Rock City-type places. The gnomes at that creepy mountaintop place always freaked me out, but I’m certain you’ve nothing to do with such tourist kitsch since your family vacations here and in other fashionable places like Destin.

I was always a little suspicious of people from Tennessee until I attended college in Virginia and learned that some of the finest and feistiest women are from Tennessee. I can’t put my finger on WHAT it is about women ladies from Tennessee, but they have class and aren’t afraid to do right. Why, my very best friends from the Volunteer State in college hailed from Germantown and Knoxville . Some of my favorite memories span from Memphis to Bristol. And one of my favorite bloggers is from Tennessee, so y’all must be okay. But what is it with female Tennesseans?

Plus, I shared a plane ride with the entire Volunteer football team one evening. Although they were a little pumped from winning that day, they had some of the best manners I’ve ever known in a group of sweaty, swarthy young men. It was, perhaps, the first time I was not carded. I cannot deny that orange is my favorite color.

And besides, I give Tennessee credit for maintaining my basic shopping needs when we relocated briefly to Kentucky and the nearest Victoria’s Secret, Costco and Krispy Kreme (in that order) were in Nashville. It was ONLY two hours, and always worth the drive.

I reckon my son is now kicking himself for telling me, when I asked, to go ahead and toss that brochure from Vanderbilt that was courting him for college. Thank goodness we get regular mailings from Vanderbilt since his little brother with Down syndrome got the best treatment of his life at Vanderbilt.

I’d just ask that if and until we bump up our text plan, will you please make sure that you give our son his money’s worth? Please don’t text him with messages like, “Hi!” and “Whazzup?”  that cost us $.20/text. I ask that you write at least 20 words per text, that’s one cent per word.

I have asked our son to do the same (except according to your text records, which we responsibly reviewed, he accordingly responded with “Hey!” and “Not much,” and “Bah (“bye – sorry his accent is a little thicker than yours – comes with the territory) – we have given him the same lecture…we believe being more verbose will facilitate both your English pursuits). And I will at least be operating under the assumption that we are making the most of our text plan.

Is there a reason why you scrutinize what time he texts you back? I can vouch for him 95 % of the time – he is either out fishing with his neighbors/friends, or at band practice. So how come you can text him when it’s convenient for you, but if we let him go out night fishing with his friends and the alligators, you get all weird? Just wondering.

I suppose you are helping to answer a bunch of questions I had all those years when my boyfriends didn’t respond or were MIA when I assumed they should be there just for MOI.

NOW I GET IT!! And it’s all good. I hope you can see that, dear girl! Let men be men – we’ll be better women for it, in the long run.


He’s grinning about gigging all those sting rays out there. And nothing more, I assure you.

One last question – am I supposed to call your parents and rat on y’all about all this texting? Do they know about this? Is it my responsibility as the boy’s mother, or in this day and age, is it commonplace to be texting willy-nilly with the boy in the state next door? My gut’s telling me to invite them down for a beachy weekend full of gumbo and good times. It’d just be the right thang to do. If the kids wouldn’t DIE of embarrassment.

Just keep shuffling your feet and watch for the sting rays and sea nettles….both of y’all.

And always be true to your Crimson Tide.

No secret biscuit recipes until the deal is sealed, y’hear?

Thanks, God, for the next generations…


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