Thursday, July 05, 2007

Leaving the wolf to guard the door

We had a rainy 4th--no fireworks display and disappointed kids. However we're off to the Buffalo in the morning, all of us but the seventeen year old who wants to stay behind and house sit.

"Risky Business" comes to mind, doesn't it? But his father insists seventeen is old enough to be on his own for two days and nights. So we're going to try it. The rules, put in place by me, are being considered unreasonable by both his father and him (Maritally speaking, it's been a really really long day). I'm allowing one friend to come over and we've chatted about who it will and won't be. I found out today that this particular son was setting off bottle rockets while holding them in his hands which just doesn't give me the greatest of confidence in his common sense so I've asked him to wait until we return to set the rest of them off. He and his father exchanged "she's so female" looks.(Have I mentioned that it's been a long day on the marital front?) And of course no alcohol etc.

Seventeen is hard; he's not a man yet, but he's on the edge of being a "legal" adult. We need to give him enough freedom that he can make mistakes before he leaves home while we're there to help pick up the pieces. However not so much that he can get into real trouble. He's a good kid on the whole and for the most part he's not given me any reasons to worry about him. I like his friends and all but one of them appear to come from families with parents that are on the ball.

My husband is ready to cut him completely loose and told me that my parents didn't give me enough freedom (Have I mentioned that . . .).

I squinted at him and asked, "Yeah? How many times did you skip school?" I already knew the answer. He grew up in Hawaii, for heavens sake. How can you possibly ask a teenage boy to sit in a classroom when the waves and the girls in bikinis are only a mile or so away from you at any given point? What is algebra to hormones, shining skin, sand, the smell of Coppertone, pineapple drinks and surf?

Several, he admitted.

"And how many times did you get caught?"

"Never." His parents just knew he was in school.

"And how were those grades when you graduated from high school?"

He knows I know the answer to this too. His mother had no idea until recently that he ever skipped school. And she stopped asking for his report card sometime during his junior year. He graduated by the skin of his teeth.

Discussing my parents always amounts to something akin to laying on a therapist's couch, and this blog just isn't all that comfortable. Lets just say that for a pair of laid back hippies, they were extremely tough. However I never, ever skipped school and I was an A student.

There's got to be a middle ground and I'm hoping this is it. If he does well this time then next time I'll loosen the reins quite a bit more.

Two more pages of editing today--drop in company precluded more progress (Not really drop in--my husband knew they were coming . . . for the day . . . all four of them . . ). I'm taking the laptop with me so maybe I can knock out a few more en route tomorrow. I'm fond of this section of the book.

Meanwhile I've got to go find the rest of the camping equipment that my oldest borrowed last fall and assured me he'd put back.

God. I hope this is a good idea.


Scotty said...

Trust; it's always a hard one isn't it? I'm sure he'll be okay and you'll come home to find the house still standing and in pretty neat order.


Mary O. Paddock said...

Indeed it was all pretty much where we left it. :)