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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Destination of a Boy

Today my coworker friend sent me an email with the header: You’re gonna love this. Stars Wars has been selected as theme for the Harvest Fest this year. My heart lifted as a pic of the familiar logo and a costumed Luke and Lea came into view. Then I felt a little sad. Oh yeah. My kids are big now. Teenagers. A Darth-Cole might be more eerie than cute.

Not that my 14-year-old isn't still cute. He is. But he’s stepping out of...boyhood. I’m now a dwarf next to him. Lengthwise anyway. (Still got him on girth.) His once sweet, animated voice has migrated into a lower, monotone decibel. Car singing is a joy. Imagine Steven Wright doing Katie Perry. But the thing that worries me? This bit of cleverness that's steeping in. I'm not talking textbook academic-clever. I'm talking about the intricacy of his stories. In other words, lies. Lies getting more difficult to detect. For example...

It’s 9:00 and he decides to retire.

"So early?" I ask with a bit of suspicion. (I'm not completely clueless. Insomniac kid heads to bed at 9:00....potential miscreant behavior ahead.)  But then he says...

"Gonna read."

"Well! Okay!" I say with a proud smile. My lessons on "how reading will make him great" are starting to sink in!

"Don't stay up too long!" I say, but not really meaning it. Would I really reprimand him for staying up until midnight for reading? Heck no.

After he heads down, I get to thinking. Have I seen Cole with a book lately? The kid painfully relates every part of every book he reads. I'm thinking I haven't heard anything of the sort.

When I decide to sneak downstairs to his bedroom to confirm his bookish pursuits, I discover he has not lied to me. He is reading. A Fantasy Football update on his iPhone. He needs to, I am informed. No longer can he research Fantasy Football at school. He and Jordan got it banned. 

At least he accomplished something this year.

He asked me the other day if his study hall teacher had called me. I said "No, why?" He only replied with a "Oh good." When I pried, he only said, "If you didn't get a call, it was nothing." Then he whipped up a smile, eyes all glimmering. I have a feeling the kid could be dangerously furtive.

But he’s not all grown up. Nor is he completely sneaky. I still relish in every bit of his boyishness.
  • He still favors kicking and shooting balls. More than anything in the world, it seems. I’m assuming this will change any minute and he'll be compelled to become an astute student. 
  • So far, his daily body inspections have not indicated any underarm hair. 
  • He tattles on his college-aged sister like a little kid. Just this weekend he mentioned her “going-ons” at college from her one of her SnapChat stories. When I tried to see them on my SnapChat, I couldn’t. Cole explained I had been blocked, but he was more than happy to share with me. (On a side note, my daughter explained her blocking of me was an act of love—a need for maternal separation. She's getting so smart in college.) 
So tonight I told Cole about the Harvest Fest theme, expecting a teenagey "too cool for that" type response. My heart leapt a little when his eyes grew wide and said, "Awesome! Can't wait to tell Matt."

Strong, stays the Force in the heart of a boy.
A long time ago, in a galaxy not very far away...

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