Teenager for a Day

I finally saw a glimpse of what it was like to have a teenager for a day. Mel, my 15 year old son, had to wake up to go to the class that was deemed necessary after his little run in with the law . He had stayed up too late and he was tired. Hell, I had stayed up too late and I was tired too, but as life would have it, we all have to do stuff we don’t necessarily want to do. So he tries to get out of going to the class. It’s a drug and alcohol class but also a life skills, anger management, peer pressure coping, kind of class. Honestly, I probably could have gotten him out of having to do it, because when he went for his second assessment, he passed the drug test, but he had failed for marijuana at the first assessment that was a week after he got in trouble. So I guess technically I could have waited and let the court decide what to do since one said he needed it and the other said he didn’t. But the second place, the one that said he didn’t need the program really, turned out to have a really good program. It wasn’t just based on drug addiction, which he doesn’t have. It was based on processing your feelings and talking. It’s basically a counseling session. And I’m a fan of therapy and counseling. I think everyone could benefit from it. So I decided he was going to go ahead and do the program. It couldn’t really hurt. Or so I hope.

Like I said, he was tired and he didn’t want to go. He laid in bed until 5 minutes before we needed to pull out. Hadn’t brushed his teeth. Hadn’t showered. Did I care? Nope. In the soon to be famous words of my friend, Crystal, NMP…..not my problem.  I told him he had two minutes to get in the car or else. I didn’t have a solid plan of what “or else” would be because I never have to discipline him. He is always good and always does what I expect of him. Until today. I guess he didn’t want to find out what “or else” was either because he was quickly dressed and sitting in the passenger seat of my car with a scowl on his face and his headphones shoved into his ears. His music was so loud I could hear the words over my low playing radio. Did I give a shit? Nope. Do you, little brother and be mad if you want. So I just drove him to the appointment. It was supposed to be a fun day. They were going to play paintball and then have lunch and come back. We pull up to the destination and he gets out of the car and slams the door. It has hinges. A gentle nudge works just fine. It’s a Honda. The door is not that heavy. Do I let him know that the slamming door pissed me off? Nope. I just mumble under my breath, “you can slam the door if you want to.” And then I send him off with an “I love you” and a silent wish for karma.

I went home, sat down to write, changed my mind and took a two hour nap because I hadn’t gotten enough sleep and unlike my kid, I’m not content being an asshole all day. So I napped, woke up, wrote some more and then went to pick him up. He comes out in a much better mood, but tells me he doesn’t feel good and he feels like he is going to throw up. Then he asks me if I can take him to his girlfriend’s house. I can still feel the pain he inflicted on my car door as he got out earlier that morning, so i just calmly tell him that he is in the no fun zone because of his behavior earlier. I’m pretty sure I heard a “whatever” and an eye roll before he shoved his earphones back in his head. I didn’t even know you could hear an eye-roll, but I’m pretty sure it was deafening.  He comes home and does, in fact, start puking. Thank you, Karma. I let him lay in bed for a while before I decided to go to a friend’s house to do laundry and asked him if he wanted to come with. There were a couple kids there that he knows so he said yes, not that it was actually optional, but kids like to feel like they have a choice and I was feeling nice again.

We get to my friend’s house and he lays down on the couch. I had given him an anti-nausea pill that I had so I half expected him to be knocked out on the ride there. He wasn’t. He said he thought he was feeling better and said he wanted to go play basketball. After all, basketball is his life. But, you know what my life is? My life is parenting. I told him there would be no basketball because he was rude and disrespectful to me and until he felt bad enough to apologize, I was going to remain upset and withhold all the things that bring him joy. Of course, he immediately apologized, but that doesn’t work for me. I told him I didn’t want his forced apology. I wanted him to think about his actions and how he has essentially gotten me punished because I’m the one who has to drive him all over to make sure he’s doing what has to be done before he goes to court and that a meaningless “sorry” wasn’t going to cut it. If he didn’t mean it, then I didn’t want it. And then I carried on with the laundry. He eventually fell asleep. I let him sleep on the couch for the rest of the night and woke him early in the morning to come home and get ready to start the day. After he had showered and gotten dressed, he came into my room and offered me a sincere apology. Not because he wanted to do anything…..well… probably partly because he wanted to do something later, but it wasn’t a forced apology and he seemed genuinely apologetic. So I decided that I was, in fact, a good mom and maybe every once and a while, I do need him to be a “teenager” just to remind me what life could be like on a daily basis, because most days, he’s as good as either of my adult children.

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