I stay so caught up in the past and the present, that I rarely allow myself to look to the future. And when I do (or am FORCED to by one or more of those damn people that live in my house) it scares the hell out of me.
You all know about Big E and Tween C. Tween C’s phone was stolen at school recently. Big E’s iPhone was taken away for his grades and generalized lack of enthusiasm for life.
That equated to Tween C being allowed to temporarily use Big E’s phone in some circumstances when she had to go somewhere or at home just to text her friends, until her phone was replaced. I forbid her to take the iPhone to school. Last Saturday she went to spend the night at a friend’s house. I didn’t allow her to take the phone. I, instead, did some peeking at her activities with said phone. I wasn’t exactly shocked to see photos that were obviously taken at school on Friday. I was mad about, though. I was a little shocked to see that she took some photographs of herself that I found less than tasteful. They weren’t exactly inappropriate…but the idea of her sending them to someone made me slightly uncomfortable. I haven’t discussed it with her. But here’s the deal: She is trying to grow up too fast.
I did discuss it with Zohrhubby last night. Especially after he walked in with the phone that he bought to replace Tween C’s phone. It’s a new Palm. A smart phone. Which means it would have to have a media package. Uh. Uh. Not gonna happen. Not in a million years. Or at least 5.
I explained my position, and ultimately had to show him the pictures. He didn’t have quite the same reaction as me. He just said that they were “silly” and maybe he was right. I know that sometime I have a tendency to read things into things…but I’ve also been a girl for as long as I can remember, and I’m sure that I have more experience on the subject. He did agree with me on one thing, as evidenced by his statement that “she needs to be brought right the hell back down to her nearly 13 year old self.”
Big E, on the other hand, is stuck in a rut. His world consists of Xbox Live, Television, computer, and chores. He has an occasional trip to Zohrhubby’s grandmother’s house to work in her yard, the occasional odd job for a friend who needs some work done around the house…
He’s not into school. He’s not into church. He’s not into ANYTHING. It’s wearing him down. He pretended for a long time that it didn’t bother him. He finally broke last night when I told him not to bother inhaling his dinner because he wouldn’t be returning to the Xbox as soon as he was finished as he had the ENTIRE weekend before. He actually began to cry at the dinner table. I asked him if something was wrong. He told me he wasn’t speaking to me. He ate and went to his room. Shortly thereafter, Tween C and I heard a thud. Not a punching the wall kind of thud, but clearly an upset thud of some sort. The equivalent of a forced cry out by preschool kid sent to his room in punishment who wants some attention. I answered his call and went into his room. He was laid on his bed with his hands over his face, crying. You have to understand: this kid will be 17 in October. He is over 6 feet tall and when he stands erect he has a commanding presence. He’s funny and bright when he wants to be. But he is as sensitive and emotional as his mother. He can’t stand to be vulnerable but at his core he is so very so. It breaks my heart when he can’t control this part of him, because I feel the same way so often. He has done this since he was 4, and it’s hurt me to the core every time, as though he were still my baby boy. I sat down, asked him to talk to me, and he finally did.
He finally admitted that he hates that he doesn’t have any real friends. He told me that he doesn’t see any options at this point in his life. He has not concept of hobbies, interests, or activities other than tv, Xbox and the computer. He is finally feeling dissatisfied with these choices. But he doesn’t have a clue what else is out there. I was absolutely no help. I cried right along with him. I told him that I can’t tell him what to do or not to do anymore. He’s too old for that. Screw the chores and the homework and school and damn it all. I want him to be happy. I want him to figure out what he wants out of life and go for it. If he wants to go to college, then get his shit together and make it happen. If he doesn’t, then start broadening his horizons a little bit so he can figure out what he wants to do with his life. I really opened up to him, and he really opened up to me. It was the first time in YEARS that that has happened. I told him that he was the smartest person I know. And I meant that. I asked him to consider three things that he wanted to try this summer. It might be the last summer that he could actually do something without worrying about a full time job and actual responsibilities. Anything, I told him, without regard for whether or not they were actually doable things. Just make a list, and then we’ll talk about the whens and whys and hows. I explained that he really has no idea what he might like or be good at without trying. He agreed to think about it.
I’ve got a 16 year old who is stuck. I’ve got a 12 year old, about to turn 13, who wants to fast forward her life. How do I manage to balance helping to speed one along some path, and putting the brakes on the other? All the while, stopping to pick up a 4 year old who’s fallen and scratched her knee? And a 5 year old who’s got his own little special needs who take up so much of all of our time and energy? Couple all of these things with the constant need to keep Zohrhubby in the loop and on the same page, which he rarely is, if I’m being honest. At least he has an opinion and wants to be heard, which is better than what some mothers have under their roof: either no father at all or one who might as well not be there, save the paycheck.
ZH and I are set to have a discussion with Tween C tonight. I think that I will let ZH rant a bit, and then I’ll take her into a private spot and have the talk that only mothers can have with their daughters. I hope she gets it. I really do.
As for Big E, he really is a great person. I am giving him back his phone tonight, with the understanding that he needs to start practicing a little self-restraint when it comes to the Xbox, and the phone. I wish he would wake up and realize what he has to offer the world. Soon. He’s really missing out on a lot, I think.
I hope that I am making the right choices…stunting growth when I deem it necessary and shoving chicks out of the nest when their asses are taking up too much space in my pad.
The future is right around the corner. And I am scared as hell.