Monday, February 2, 2004

Aging Gracefully with Children

I find it exhausting raising 15 month-old boys when they are rampaging through the house throwing everything out of cabinets and drawers, stealing each other's toys and barking indignantly at each other like seal pups. However, a recent car ride, with a friend, our daughters and her thirteen year old son, made me consider the daunting possibility that a couple of years down the road I would be the parent of adolescents. The scene brought back memories. "Charlie" as we'll call him was upset because his mother wasn't listening to the "cool" radio station. Rather than sit back in his seat and deal with it, he kept lurching forward and trying to switch the channel, which only made my friend more insistent. Finally, the Four Seasons December '63 (Oh what a night) came on and we couldn't resist and started singing along "Oh, what a night, late December back in '63, what a very special time for me, as I remember what a night!"

There's something so ridiculous about adolescence, teenagers and how seriously they take themselves, as highlighted by that cheesy song. Maybe it was being around a thirteen year old and not feeling so far removed from that stage ourselves (granted I was born in '72 and my friend is a little older), but it seemed very hilarious and she and I decided to be equally immature and continue singing out loud.
"Mom stop singing now, you've got a terrible voice."
"You don't like it, well now you're going to have to listen to the entire song..."
Even I couldn't resist, "Chill out Charlie, you'll be old some day yourself. Oh and what's with calling your mother homey, you know they were saying that back in the eighties when I was your age. Are you so sure you're with it?"

The upside with thirteen year olds is that they move on, so twenty minutes later Charlie was happily showing off some hockey moves at the ice skating rink and acting like a sweet kid again, not yet old enough to be totally embarassed about being seen with his Mom and her "homey."

It did make me think about the parenting thing. I only had a younger sister. I guess my reference on mother of boys would have been a family friend who had five sons. Two of them were my sister's and my ages and we hung out with them a bit in junior high and high school. You couldn't get anything past Mrs. X. I remember one of the boys describing their brothers coming home late one night and sheepishly hugging their mother good night. "Hmmh," she said "It smells like you boys have been drinking beer, smoking pot and then eaten some peanut butter to cover it up."

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