Am I supposed to simply hand over my keys to my car and let my 16-year-old son, do what he pleases? Give me a break!
Last night, I decided it would be nice to do something as a family. When Will came home from school, I asked him if he had plans. He did. I told him the we wanted to go see Zombieland. My intuitive son knew instantly that this meant something to me.
"I can invite my friend to go with us," he told me.
That was fine with me. This is one of Will's closest friend who he is a part of our family. But unfortunately, he couldn't be ready by 7:15 because of football practice. Will decided that he would see his friend today.
I then asked Will to look at the story I wrote. Will doesn't love to read. But he told me he would. So I put a big glass of orange juice in front of him and fed him Belgium Chocolate. He read. He pointed out some plots points that were not quite working for him, corrected some of my grammar, and gave me encouragement and advice.
"Don't fall in love with your work," he told me. "Just keep working it."
How did he get so smart?
Next, I texted Kyle to ask if he would be able to join us to Zombieland. He finally texted back that he would.
I was delighted. We were doing something as a family. It seems so rare these day.
But things did not go as I had expected.
As it turns out, Kyle was not that thrilled to be with us. Well, in his defense, he was exhausted. He returned late from school. He had taken my car yesterday and was late getting home. I paced my floor boards until he finally made contact with us.
"Got stuck talking to a couple of kids, sorry."
We grabbed a quick dinner and off to the movies we went. Kyle' s phone and his left foot didn't stop vibrating. He took call after call before the film began. He kept texting his friends. And his leg was shaking the whole time. I looked at him like he was a creature from outer space. He seemed unglued.
The movie began. Yes, I did say Zombieland. Tom had suggested the film and I was a bit skeptical, but I had an ulterior motive. If I picked something like Whip It, the new film directed by Drew Barrymore, I realized I would have little hope of getting the family all together.
But, here is the surprising thing. I absolutely loved Zombieland. I laughted out loud more times than I have in a long time. Tom was completely enjoying himself. Will was totally in to it, and Kyle was too, even though he was obsessing about the results of the Yankee game.
I sat next to Kyle who was really bugging me. I am sure, I was totally bugging him. It just wasn't working.
And I let it break my heart.
Everyone says that I will be ready to let them leave when they get ready to go off to college. Is this what they mean?
I am seriously not happy about this at all!
And I am at a bit of a loss as to how to handle this as a parent.
After the movie I wanted to get ice cream. Isn't that what you do as a family after a good movie? Only Tom and I were really into it. Tom knew how important it was for me, this symbolic gesture of our past life really meant something to me. Kyle wanted to get home to watch baseball highlights and check all his texts and phone messages. He passed on the ice cream. But Tom, Will and I enjoyed our soft-served swirl with chocolate dip and hot caramel fudge.
In the midst of all this Kyle told me about a party a friend of his was having on Sunday night. Kyle does not have school on Monday. He asked if he could go.
"Of course," I said.
"Can I spend the night?" He asked.
"No," I said.
"Why not?" he questioned
"Because if you do, you'll be a zombie the next day."
The humor was lost on him. But he wants to go to this small party on Sunday and spend the night. That way he doesn't have to be home by curfew, which when you drive as a 16-year-old in California is 11:00pm
I told him I was happy to pick him up at 2:00 in the morning if he wanted me to.
No, he wants to sleep over. He assured me he would get sleep. Like I believe him.
Last weekend he really wanted to go to LoveEvolution in the city. Tom and I finally acquiesced and let him go. He came home, exhausted and overwhelmed.
This parenting thing is getting confusing for me.
All I know if I don't keep helping him navigate the stormy waters of love, learning, and friendships I am going to have one badass zombie on my hands.