As we come upon the final days before taking you to college, I make a vow to myself. I’ll be strong, happy and excited, as you are. I’ll feel the optimism you feel, the readiness for you to leave us as I know you are.
I will not miss the sound of your infectious laughter in the house or your wonderful sense of humor at the dinner table. I won’t miss passing your bedroom and glimpsing you sleeping or listening to your music. I’m not at all worried about you being so far from home. I’m not concerned that you’ll make the right choices.
I will not overthink what you bring to decorate your new room, the space that will be your home for the next nine months and hope that you are safe and happy and comfortable.
I won’t worry if we prepared you well to be on your own for the first time.
I won’t cry when we say goodbye, when we drive away leaving you behind. I won’t see this as you wave from your building.
I won’t count the days until Parents Weekend or Thanksgiving break or end of term. I won’t wonder where the time went, how fast you grew, how beautiful you are.
I won’t miss you.
Nope. Not me.
When my sons were small, they never left my side, couldn’t give or receive enough kisses and hugs and loved to talk to me. Every thought was verbalized and questions were fired at rapid speed. They wanted to learn about their world, my world, me. I knew everything. They laughed loudly and smiled often.
Now, they’re 14 and 17. The house, once filled with high-pitched voices and Nickelodeon, is quiet. As they continue to plow through the years at warp speed, I’ve had to adjust my expectations and reactions.
This is what I’ve learned about teenage boys:
- They use their own language: words like Swag, Brah, Chance and Yas. They abbreviate words because they no longer possess the energy to say them fully.
Where’s your brother?
- In keeping with the above point, they offer one word answers to describe multiple hours they were not in your company. Six-hour experiences will be described in one of the following words: Fine, Good, Okay or, if you’re really lucky, you may receive the overly-descriptive Fun. Count your blessings.
- When a teen boy decides to talk to you, drop everything and listen. It could be days before he opens his mouth again to speak.
- This just in: Chance is no longer used. Keep up with the times.
- Everything you say is annoying. If it’s not annoying, then it’s wrong.
- They love videos. They do not like to read.
- They will spend three hours outside, building snow ramps and a mini terrain park, where they’ll spend an additional four hours snowboarding and sledding up and down the hill. However, taking out the garbage is an incredibly exhausting task. Omg!
- Their friends know everything. You’ve been through every experience they’ll face, yet you know absolutely nothing.
- For some reason, shorts are worn throughout the year. They don’t get cold. Sweatshirts have replaced warm, winter coats. And they have no problem when you say you’ll deny being their parent in public.
- If you don’t hear what they say the first time and ask What?, you blew your chance. Theirs is not to repeat.
- You grew up in the exciting ’70’s and ’80’s, went to college, went backpacking through Europe, held eight jobs, know two languages, wrote a couple of books, have been on the radio twice, but you’re boring. Their friends, who play videos all day, are not boring.
- Car rides are crucial. Keep your radio low and your ears open. A lot is divulged in traffic. Embrace the captive audience. Unless, of course, they’re hidden under their headphones. This is your chance to blast Abba and sing at the top of your lungs as if you’re alone. It’s a win-win.
- Do not, under any circumstances, try to speak to a teenage boy in the morning. Use gestures if you must or let the thought go. Just throw a waffle on the table and slowly back away. Trust me. It’s a much more peaceful existence and sets the tone for the entire day.
I’ve heard they come back. Idk. I’ll keep you posted.