My son is turning 16, next Friday. SIXTEEN!!! The difference between his turning 16, as opposed to my two oldest daughters having crossed that bridge...with very little pomp and circumstance, other than a group sleepover...YAY!!!...while my 13 year-old daughter is already clipping through fashion magazines for prom dress ideas...WOW!!!...is that the boy insists his turning 16 is really not ALL that big of a deal.
Guess what he wants for his birthday?!? G'head, I'll wait!!!
Glen: I have to tell you about something my friends and I did in school.
Aaaaaaaand, here's where being a mom of a teenager (for the last 9 years) comes in REAL handy.
Me: [blank stare]
Rather than jumping to conclusions (which is the only form of exercise I seem to be getting, these days) and imagining the worst possible things my son and his friends could have done, to want me to hear it from him first...because TEENAGERS...I've learned that's it's probably a real good idea to just...you know...shut up and listen.
Glen: This kid invited us to a party.
Still shutting up and listening.
Glen: He's a special needs kid, it's his birthday, but we're not sure how we feel about going.
This is the part where my brain nearly exploded and it took ALL of my strength (mental AND physical) to not want to revisit the last almost-sixteen years of parenting my son, because clearly I'm NOT doing it right.
Me: What do you mean, you're not sure how you feel about going?
My husband and I have been especially mindful of our childrens' need to be able to understand and acknowledge empathy, however, our parenting doesn't always necessarily translate well outside of the home...because PEER PRESSURE!
Glen: We want to go, but for the right reasons.
So I asked him for their reasons:
- Birthday Boy visits everyone's lunch table, for a few minutes, every day.
- On this particular day, he invited each of the kids to his birthday party.
- He had a list of 21 kids (TWENTY ONE!) who accepted his invitation and said they would go...and then as soon as Birthday Boy left their table...they whispered to each other how...nah...they really weren't going.
- Throughout the day, my son and his friends were asking around, you know, to see who was going (or not) to Birthday Boy's party.
- None of them expressed any interest in actually going.
And the number one reason why my son and his two best friends actually went to Birthday Boy's party:
- How would YOU feel on your birthday...if no one showed up...seriously?!?
Not including my son and his two best friends, four other kids were there and they ALL had a really great time -- especially, Birthday Boy!
Don't get me wrong. This is not a post about how I feel my son is better than your son (or daughter) and, quite frankly, the boy is especially gifted at driving his father and I bat-shit-crazy...more often than not...trust me.
Glen: You can blog about it, if you want to.
But because people are always so quick to point out how (or when) a kid should (or shouldn't) act...especially if he or she is not your kid...it's nice to hear whenever a teenager is NOT driving his parents bat-shit-crazy.
Glen: Because not ALL teenagers are like that.
Aaaaaaand, my son thought it was good to know -- me, too!
Glen: But...PLEASE...don't call it a sweet sixteen party!
Sometimes, these blog post titles just write themselves...YO!