Suave, rising sophomore

This summer begins in a mere 15 days. Fifteen! It’s hard to believe I’m wrapping up another year of teaching – – even harder to realize that my children have reached new milestones in their educational journeys. And hubs just survived a year as our “daytime caregiver,” rearranging his work schedule to ensure our very active daughter had competent supervision and love-filled days.

I’ve watched my babies discover themselves in these past nine months.

My son, Suave, has tried to assert his independence. He’s bucked our attempts to shelter him, staying behind at school without permission or skipping bus rides we expect him to take. I know he feels confined. We worry about where he lingers and who he hangs out with. Perhaps we owe him the opportunity to explore and a chance to make choices. But I worry ceaselessly. Call it my “mother nature.”
He told me that of the seniors he knows, no one is graduating. “They’re on the five year plan,” he said matter-of-fact, as though that were an option for study in high school. And he couldn’t understand my reply: “Maybe you need a new circle of associates.” It’s like these troubled kids – these students who’ve lost their focus – seem to draw a stronger gravitational pull on our son than the “good” students are capable of.

How do you encourage a child – ahem, teenage young man – to pick “friends” befitting of his aspirations? Guilt by association is a very real thing. People are judged my the company they keep even if they are not personally like their surrounding posse.

I love that he’s proud to share his good marks. Whenever he gets an A or B, he announces the achievement as soon as I’m looking in his direction: “How was your day, mom? I’m third highest score on my SOL…” And those offensive Fs? Well, he’s trying, he says when confronted about them. Somehow he never has homework. He’s hardly ever “caught” reading – especially not for school. And despite having a bedtime the same as much younger siblings, he sleeps ALL THE TIME. I wonder, if we give him an extra hour, would he sleep only at bedtime?IMG0679web
But my Suave, who still pilfers for snacks in the cabinet and hides the remains throughout the house, is generally a great young man. Yes, I readily admit it. He always asks about my day, and waits eagerly for me to reciprocate. He takes a special pleasure in using his money to treat me to something – a coffee, a small meal. And I know he loves this evil stepmother beyond what I warrant. He deserves so very much adoration for who he is and who he is becoming.

Though it may be seen as a flaw, he also forgives. He believes in people – – that they want to do what’s right and will try to do it. Even when they don’t (consistently), he still holds out hope.

In the fall, he’ll be a sophomore – a “wise fool.” I’m thinking this football rising star will come into his scholarship, too. And I’m ready to cheer on his victories in the classroom and on the field.

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