Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Life Lessons

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We had another one of "those" mornings. When my feet hit the floor, I had no idea that the first words out of my mouth would start the day off on a very bad note. By the time "Good Morning America" came on, the guilt kicked in.

My thoughts:

Why did I start?

I should have just let it go.

You've ruined his day.

That's not fair to him.

It was as if Cher gave me a "Snap out of it" slap when that last thought hit.

Not fair to him? That's not fair to me!

It was a simple question.

"Did you bring back my ticket stub from your track coach."

He didn't have to answer. His blank expression told me that a.) he didn't know what I was talking about which also meant that b.) he didn't turn in the envelope that contained the said ticket stub was attached to.

So instead of calmly reminding him to turn in the folder that was due eight days ago, I thought this was the perfect time to ask him more questions that I already knew the answer to.

"Have you studied for this week's ACT tutoring session?"

"Have you thought about how you're getting to prom? You can't wait until the last minute!"

"Do you know what you're wearing to prom? You can't wait until the last minute to decide!"

"I know that you are going to wait until the last minute and expect me to worry about it."

"When you go to college, I'm not going to be there to remind you to do things. You need to learn now. If you can't remember to do the little things, how in the world will you remember the big things? I'm worried about your future."

He was looking at me. To the untrained eye, it would even appear that he was listening. But I knew he tuned me out the moment I started talking.

At this point, I couldn't remember the catalyst for today's disagreement, and he didn't care. It's obvious bickering isn't the most logical way to reach a teenager.

If I want to get through to him, my approach has to change from the Robin Williams, "Good Will Hunting" model to the more John Belushi, "Animal House." Getting through to him wasn't going to happen in the four minutes before he left for school.

I stopped him at the door, hugged him and said, "I love you. I don't like arguing with you. I just worry about you. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about."

Shockingly he hugged me back and said, "I know you do, but trust me, not everything is a life lesson."

Being the parent of a 16-year-old boy can be challenging. It's like trying to put on a pair of skinny jeans right after getting out of the shower. You hold your breath, try not to fall, sweat and nearly pass out. It takes time to realize that holding your breath makes it harder to accomplish something that no one really understands anyway.

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Telling Tales
Becky Andrews, column, family, motherhood, opinion, Telling Tales, Wilson Living Magazine
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