Pleasant Surprise

I've been thinking a lot about my oldest boy lately. He's almost 18, will graduate from high school in about a month, earned an academic scholarship to college, and he just can't wait to blow by the pop stand that is high school. Saying that he's ready to move on is a bit of an understatement. No only does he want to move on, he wants to opt out of everything that the end of his senior year has to offer. No prom, no senior cotillion, no banquets for extra-curricular activities. Shoot, if his grade didn't depend on it, he'd probably opt out of his final choir concerts as well. And this is what troubles me. I think he's making snap judgements about these activities, that in the end he will regret not having participated more in his senior year and have some fun memories to cherish--eventually.

He's a good kid. He really is, but when he was little, I used to get so frustrated with him because he was a very demanding and required a lot of interaction. Let's just say he wasn't the kind of baby you could put on a blanket and expect him to entertain himself. As he got older, he was very engaging, a bright little boy who could make you laugh one minute and cry the next because he just did things that frustrated the beejeebers out of you. My husband said the other night that he's "an exasperating child," even as a young man. Of course, I'm smiling when I write this because it's so true. That's our boy and we wouldn't wouldn't want him any other way. How can one kid be so smart, funny, and talented one moment and then make you want to wring his neck the next? I guess all kids are like this in one way or another, especially teenyboppers:)

When I was in labor with him, I brought a copy of "The Sandlot" to watch during those blessed moments when there is no pain. I knew I was having a boy and I was excited for T-ball and soccer, "stripey shirts and Christopher Robin pants," (as he called his clothes when he was about three), and hoping he'd like books and stories as much as I do. When he was five, I signed him up for T-ball and soccer thinking that it would be good for him to get out and play in the sunshine. Let's just say it was good to be in the sunshine, because the boy simply was not made for sports. He was the kid who sat in the dust at second base and played in the dirt and ran the wrong way when he hit the ball off of the tee. At least it's cute when they're little. He was so horribly uncoordinated at soccer that he was usually relegated to playing defense or goalie, which is okay--someone has to play those positions--but he wasn't learning anything and he certainly wasn't getting any exercise. In addition, he couldn't see well at all. With a double of dose of amblyopia and strabismus, he not only wore glasses but we had to patch his good eye in order to strengthen the weak one. Tough thing for a kindergartener to do. So long to a mother's romantic view of boyhood.

But then something really interesting happened. Puberty. It hit him really fast. He grew something like 10 inches in 22 months and his voice changed. I know, I know. All of their voices drop, but his became completely different. He had a really cute raspy voice as a little boy, but by the time he was 12 he had a very powerful, deep, manly voice with quite a nice singing voice to go with it. And I'm not just saying that he has a good voice because I'm the biased mom. Anyone who's heard him will go on and on about how amazing his is. Forgive me if I come across as bragging, but in my humble opinion, he has a such a beautiful singing voice, it sometimes make you want to weep. What a pleasant surprise.  It's just not something you expect when you have a baby. Seriously, I was thinking baseball because I really like it and thought how cool it would be to follow a boy around and watch him grow and progress as a player. And our society centers on sports, so. . .

As a result, he's had so many wonderful opportunities to learn and grow as a vocalist. It all started out when he landed a leading role in the school play as a 7th grader (his character had his own song in the musical) and people started telling me, "Oh, wow. He's going to go far in the performing arts program in high school." I kept thinking, "why?" I guess I thought that all kids could sing like mine. He was recruited into the high school's elite choir as a sophomore (very unusual) and has had leading and supporting roles in the high school's musicals. Once he found his niche, he became enormously successful. And I couldn't be happier for him. It's what you hope for your kids, that they will find their way in the world, learn to be contribute to society, and find joy in doing things that make others smile.

So, what do I do with him, friends? What's your advice? Did you opt out of your senior year because you were so anxious to move on? He keeps telling me that everything will be different in college, but I'm not so sure. I can't imagine that college social life, or girls for that matter, will be less complex than they are now. What's a mother to do? ;)


  1. I opted out of senior year at the end of my junior year. The only class I needed was a semester of computers, and I was pretty much over all that high school drama by that time. I don't think I missed anything by not doing prom senior year or any of those cultural measures of a happy childhood (and the prom I did attend as a sophomore was a pretty miserable experience). I was still with my friends and making memories in another way.

    If he is ready to move on, let him.

  2. I agree. These are only activities that should be attended because of "want," not need. My senior can't wait for all of it to be over. She is beyond ready to move on to the next chapter of her life. I'm all for that.


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