On Friday, I wrote on my Facebook status: "Sending our 14yo off to the woods of Alabama again for the weekend.
After having a teenagery morning with him, I don't think I'll miss him
for the first 10 minutes."
We had just sent our 14yo to a Wing Emergency Services School with the Civil Air Patrol for the 4th weekend of 6. During these weekends, he has learned to perform different emergency services, like finding "Fred*," a fallen "pilot" who "crashed." Fred must be found in the dark, using only a red lens flashlight and accompanied by one other cadet (just a kid, too, yikes!). Our cadet has also had to create a shelter from a tarp and sleep in the woods several nights, something he actually enjoys.
(*Fred, of course, is a stuffed dummy.)
I'd had a rough Friday morning with our cadet before he left on this latest trip. It's not his fault that I'm becoming less and less intelligent as he gets older (I remarked to a friend Friday that I need a t-shirt that says on the front, "I'm always wrong." Back: "My teenager lets me know.")
We get along so well and love each other to bits, but as he gets older, the hair-pulling moments occur almost as often as they did when he was 2. Our clashes are ridiculous. Friday morning, the satellite wasn't working. Frustrated at how long it was taking our teen to find the right cord behind the t.v., I said, "It's the black one. Power cords are always the black ones." He quickly corrected me, "Technically, Mom, they're not always black. They're sometimes grey or white…." I wish I had never taught him a word like "technically."
Our teen has a happy disposition and is quite an easy kid to have around. Usually. It's those unusual moments that get me, the biggest that I worry over his seeming lack of motivation. He has to be told to do the dishes, told to clean his room, told to do his math. I want him to feel so compelled to complete things that I never have to tell him to do anything! I worry over it sometimes, worrying over the "what ifs?" What if he'll become a lackadaisical beggar at 30 because I wasn't there to tell him to go to work?!? My man, the more level-headed parent in this family, doesn't worry at all, knowing teen boys quite well from his experience as one.
By Sunday evening, when our teen arrived home, I had missed him, of course. I was so excited to see him that I gave him the biggest of hugs.
He rested, ate birthday cupcakes, unpacked his gear, then finally got around to telling me, quite casually, that he's one of only 2 cadets – out of about 100 – who have completed their tasks so far. These are tough tasks. Ones that would require motivation and determination and someone who is not lackadaisical.. Tasks, these tasks:
I'm so proud of him for such a big accomplishment. I'm not proud of me for doubting him. So, to myself, and to you, if you're a mama reading this: Keep going. Keep assigning chores. Keep reminding. Keep praying. Keep allowing the I-know-it-all comments to breeze by. Keep believing in the kid.
I think our consistency just might be rewarded.