Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Evening Walk

I feel sorry for him. Really I do. Growing and developing and changing can really take it's toll on your ability to remember where the milk is stored in the refrigerator, to bring your PE clothes to school, to find your baseball glove hiding in front of you on the floor of the garage. My twelve and a half year old goes through phases where clearly his brain is off somewhere else doing other important things. During these times it is a good thing that his arms and legs are attached to him or he would loose them. Thank god he doesn't have to keep track of car keys yet.

These phases are maddening for a parent to watch, dangerous for a parent to participate in (take a giant step back please), and touched with a bit of empathetic embarrassment and humor.

I just learned a very important lesson about the phase of adolescence that we are embarking on in our house. In all the frustration and craziness, there are some crystalline moments when you see through the cloud of teenager to the wonderful person your child is struggling to become. You have to keep your sense of humor, you have to be patient, and you have to be willing to let it happen.

Today was the kind of day when I started out with grand plans to attack my To Do List and get a lot done. My oldest son called from school in the morning and very politely and apologetically explained that he forgot his swimming bag again. He had forgotten it the day before and had to run during all of PE, which wasn't so bad, but forgetting it again meant that his grade would be affected. God forbid his grade in PE be affected by one one-hundredth of a percentage point! He very nicely asked if it would be possible for me to bring his stuff by school, knowing that normally I don't make trips to school for forgotten lunches, homework, projects, or PE clothes. But he was so polite about it, and it's almost the end of the year, and I really have felt sorry for him and his lack of cognizance. So I brought the swimming stuff to school after I had coffee with a friend. The rest of the day saw only two small things crossed off my To Do list and by the time I was making dinner I had a headache.

My oldest son, taking a break from a diligent homework session, asked if he and I could go take the dog for a walk together. I informed him that I was making dinner and that after dinner would be a better time. I took a Tylenol, we all sat down to eat, and I figured he would forget about the walk. Just after dinner, he said, "OK Mom are you ready to go?" I wasn't really in the mood to go on a walk but the request was unusal and I thought I'd better take advantage of the opportunity. We started on our walk when he informed me that he had a route in mind.

Chatting away, we passed the time discussing geography of Africa and the Caribbean, summer plans, where the dog was going to poop. A mile and a half later, as we neared Baskin Robbins, my son told me that he really appreciated me bringing his swimming stuff to school, and dug a $5 bill out of his pocket. Would I like to stop for an ice cream?

Well knock me over. Wow.

The dog and I waited outside while he went in and ordered two Gold Medal Ribbons, each in a cup. I wasn't even hungry but that had to be some of the best ice cream ever, shared in a strip mall at sunset with my son who is really growing up.


a frank design said...

What a sweet story that was.

Plain Jane said...

you are SUCH a wonderful writer!! you just take us along a path and then wow! lovely lovely story. I got goosebumps at the end!

Anonymous said...

He has always been a special and sweet boy in my eyes. After all he was my first born grandson. Aside from that, you will see great things from him in all areas.

Kirstin said...

Oh what a lovely story. As the mother of an almost 13 year old boy I can relate so well. I found your blog through the watercolor journal site and will be back. Thanks for sharing.