Archive | July, 2014

Ah Summer and the Surly Stage

14 Jul

So we’re in the middle of summer and I’m encountering people who appear to be walking around like it’s Happy Hour, half drunk on the fact that It’s Summer. ¬†“It’s summer,” means to many that it’s time to relax: Drink more, hang out more, chill more. It’s a great concept and I wish that I was doing it and doing so near a beach for a month (a week, a day), but I’m working. I’m a chauffeur.

My 13-year-old, unfortunately, isn’t old enough to drive so here’s how my day looks: Get him to academic camp by 9 where he works on language arts and math till 11:15 then I pick him up and drop him off at 11:30, to a neighboring town, for sports camp where he stays until it’s over at 2:30. Then there’s summer league baseball. He usually has to show up for those games at 5. Last week he had four games in one week. This is my July. I’m trying hard not to be bitter, not to complain, to enjoy these years which I know are fleeting. I’m sure some of my friends are right when they say, “You’ll miss these days,” but given that he’s an adolescent, I’m highly doubtful that I’m going to miss the surly grunts and the complete silence I get from him. The one word answers to my questions are now just as often replaced by grunts. It’s not just a yes or a no, it’s a barely audible sound that means, “I don’t want to answer you.” Five minutes ago, really six months ago, my Ford was sweet and loving. He still wanted me to lay down with him and tell him one of my made up stories. He would watch a movie with us. I could even get him to go to lunch with me–even if he did want to leave as soon as he’d wolfed down his burger, which was usually in 15 minutes. Just when I was feeling sorry for myself and considered running him over when I dropped him off this morning (okay I didn’t actually want to do that but I did imagine, for a moment, that if we hadn’t had him my summer would be free) I came across this article about the push and pull of adolescence.

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/13the-emotional-whiplash-of-parenting-a-teenager

My take away: they will push you away, they’ll say mean things, but they’ll have moments when they will hug you or sit next to you or as just happen, hold your hand (wow)! The article said that as much as you may want to turn away to protect your feelings from the meanness coming from them, you gotta hang in there because you’re still their safe place to fall and every now and then you’ll get a glimpse of sweetness (or at least non-surliness).

So I’m going to keep driving, hoping that maybe a conversation consisting of more than oomph¬†will happen. I’m going to keep sitting in the stands in 90 degree weather to watch him play baseball games, hoping he feels all the love and support I bring along with me. IMG_0627 In January, with sister, at the start of the surly stage. IMG_1662 A moment of grace in June–he’s actually asking me for his phone–but I was happy to have it