Saturday, May 29, 2010


I feel like this whole teen thing has kind of snuck up on me, and I don't feel ready for it at all. One day Kevin was this sweet little boy who watched Blue's Clues, and suddenly I blinked and here he is a teenager, wanting to do teenage things.

Today he was at a friend's house down the street. He called me and asked me if it was okay for his friend's 18-year-old brother and his 20-year-old friend to take Kevin and his friend (the 18 y/o's little brother, age 12) to Carl's Jr. to pick up food. As in, in a car. Caught me completely off guard, although it's funny, I've had flashes lately of Kevin being in high school in a couple years (actually, in ONE year and THREE months, to be exact) and getting into friends' cars, and how am I going to feel about it and what ground rules am I going to lay down. Anyway, I told him I needed a few minutes to think about it and that I would call him back. I consulted with Michael, who thought it would probably be okay this one time, but admitted that it would be breaking the ice, so to speak, for future, similar requests. I agonized about it for about five minutes. Of course I want Kevin to be happy, and I don't want to be the sort of mom who doesn't let her kid do anything, because that just sets the stage for sneaking around and rebellion (I speak from experience). On the other hand, teenage drivers - particularly teenage boy drivers - freak me the fuck out. I don't think people under 20 should be driving. And I'm not kidding. They just don't have the good judgment that is required to handle such a massive responsibility as driving around a deadly weapon. I quickly envisioned the worst: Kevin splattered all over the road, and me suicidal with grief, wishing I could turn back the clock and say "No, you may not ride in a car with so-and-so's brother, I'm just not comfortable with it." Then I quickly pulled myself back to reality, called Kevin back, and told him just that: "No, I'm sorry, you may not ride in a car with so-and-so's brother, I'm just not comfortable with it." He copped a little bit of 'tude over it, but not too bad.

People talk about how horrible the teenage years are, how kids turn into aliens with chips on their shoulders when they hit the teen years. It's true that the attitudinal aspect is tough, but so far I am finding that the hardest part is just this whole process of letting go, of trying to figure out which lines to draw and where, of feeling inept as a parent because this is all completely uncharted territory, and of knowing that you've finally reached that point where, at least to some degree, you have to step back and just hope that all the lessons and values you've tried to instill in them will guide them to make good, smart choices.

1 comment:

diane rene said...

there is NOTHING to prepare you for these years ... sadly, not even older children has been enough for me.
that being said, and fears put aside, it is SO worth the ride.