Tuesday, July 30, 2013
SLICE OF LIFE
I've discovered yet another missing page in the parenting manual.
My eighteen-year-old graduated.
Not in the traditional way, with "Pomp and Circumstance"
and caps and gowns and pictures and parties.
Instead, he went to summer school.
Then we met in the principal's office.
And he graduated.
But he finished.
Well, he is just kind of on hold.
You see, last October,
he made one of those stupid
That all of us pray our kids won't make.
But he did.
And we have been dealing
with the legal ramifications
for ten looong months.
We go back to court on Thursday.
For the umpteenth time.
And the issue might be resolved.
Except it was supposed to be resolved
in late March
and it's still going on.
So much for a speedy trial.
He could get probation.
He could have to take classes.
In which case he would need to stay here
for the next six months or a year.
He could get deferred probation.
Or credit for time already served.
In which case he could possibly go to college.
Or maybe the military.
In the mean time,
we are stuck in what feels
kind of like the outer circles of Dante's inferno.
He finished school in late June.
I suggested, as I have been for quite a while,
that it might be wise to get a job
so he would have money
to help pay his expenses
and for an occasional movie
or pair of shoes.
He could always quit
after the court stuff is resolved.
He hasn't done that.
He hasn't done much of anything, actually.
And so he hangs out
Waiting for court on Thursday.
Working out with a quarterback coach
tossing a ball
Watching his friends
who are preparing
to head off to college.
Making messes in the kitchen.
Fighting with me
that I am not willing to give him
because I think he should get a job.
He still dreams of playing college football.
He's definitely good enough.
Might go to a school in Arizona
because the QB coach
knows someone down there.
In case that doesn't work out
he has applied for schools in Denver
He might go to Metro for the first year.
And if that doesn't work out
he might go to a community college
just to get his grades up
and then head out in January.
He talks about being a senator
or a brain surgeon
or a lawyer
or maybe a music producer.
He has talked about joining the Air Force
or maybe the Navy.
He doesn't really have any idea
what he wants.
Mostly I just try to stay out of his way
because I am the person
he is convinced is responsible
for all of his woes
and because if I am not around
he can't ask for money.
I am trying
to keep my mouth closed
unless he asks for my opinion
to be tough enough
that he will want to leave the nest
and move toward adulthood
but gentle enough
that he will know he can come back
for visits anyway.
I thumb through the parenting manual.
I can find the chapter about helping your kid pack for college.
I can find the chapter about what to do
when your kid's dreams don't match yours.
But this chapter?
It's missing from my parenting manual.