Jack turns fourteen on Saturday. He seems to be of the opinion that he's turning twenty-one, but he's been of that opinion for a couple of years now. I'm sure it outrages him that we won't let him drive himself to school.
Having a (nearly) fourteen-year-old child has been interesting. I've had a couple of occasions recently where I've really had to make myself step back, mom-wise. For instance, the day before the eighth grade left for their three-day trip. One of the items on Jack's packing list was a rain jacket. Where was Jack's rain jacket? At school, of course.
The Man left Jack a note that morning that read, "Don't forget your jacket!" When I dropped Jack off at school, I called after him, "Don't forget your jacket!" And yes, I emailed him that afternoon to not forget his jacket.
In spite of this, what were the odds that he'd forget his jacket? Really, really good. So I decided to email his advisor, Mr. S. I began by writing, "Dear Mr. S., I hope I don't seem like one of those helicopter parents to you, but ..." and then I stopped. I deleted the email.
Jack is too old to have his mom email his advisor about a jacket.
The other recent situation: Jack has been having a group of friends over on Sunday afternoons to play Dungeons and Dragons for a couple of hours. Every week the guys all say they'll be there, and sometimes they are, but other times only one or two of them show up, and one week no one showed up. The Mom in me wants to take over, to email the boys' parents on Thursday nights, "Please confirm that your child will be here on Sunday. They claim they're coming, but you may have entirely different plans for them, and it would be good to know."
But I can't. It's not my job to run that part of Jack's life anymore. He can figure out a better way to confirm who's coming on Sundays, or he can live with the suspense. Me, I don't have a pony in the race.
The hardest thing for me right now is backing off on hygiene patrol. Every once in awhile I get pushy about his skin, but even that is starting to feel like trespassing into territory that isn't much of my business anymore. I feel okay about reminding him to shower (and can't wait for the day when he doesn't need reminding) and have no scruples about forcing him to get his hair cut. But he knows when his skin is broken out, and he knows what to do about it. There's something undignified about me standing outside of the bathroom door while he's brushing his teeth and calling, "Don't forget to use your skin stuff!"
I have no doubt that one day soon, maybe this week, maybe next, you'll find me outside the bathroom door calling, "Don't forget your skin stuff!" I haven't quite gotten the knack of being a mother to a fourteen-year-old boy. Confession: I pretty much packed Jack's bag the night before the 8th grade trip. I didn't want him to forget anything, and I didn't want his clothes getting all wrinkled because he'd scrunched them in instead of folding them first.
But even while I was doing it, I knew I should be letting him pack. He was just standing around watching me, not eager to help, but not entirely comfortable with the fact that I'd more or less taken over his life. Again.
Well, I'll know better next time. Seem like we're all on a learning curve around here.
P.S. Jack remembered his jacket. My baby's growing up!