Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Growing Up

Yesterday, Elder Boy brought home his box of graduation announcements. I won't go into the details of how we were FINALLY able to obtain these announcements. I'll just say the school seems to leave communications up to the teenager and in this case, that wasn't the best route to take.

I've known about these announcements for the last several months. Shortly after moving to Colorado and enrolling Elder Boy at his new high school, we were bombarded by notices about "senior dues", cap and gown fees, class ring orders graduation and senior schedules and, of course, graduation announcements.

It was a running joke for awhile that we may have an extra year to take care of the senior requirements since his grades had more ups and downs than a roller coaster. On top of that, Elder Boy's plans for the future are so non-existent right now that I've stopped questioning him about them. For the last several weeks, I ceased nagging him about jobs, careers, college and grades. But the arrival of those graduation announcements brought it all back. That huge milestone is only 3 months away.

I hope he realizes what's coming. I worry that he's not ready. There is only so much explaining that can be done to a teen that has a deaf ear turned your way. You can't teach someone that doesn't want to be taught (or feels he doesn't need to be taught). Life right now for him is still his social circle.

I don't know if it's the thought of him leaving or the thought that he's not ready for it that bothers me. Whatever the reason, he is growing up. I don't mean his maturity. His mind and his attitude has matured sporadically for years now. I mean his age. Whether or not he or I or anyone else wants him to, he is going to be a legal adult soon and will have to face the challenges of adulthood as an adult. He'll have to sign up for the draft. He'll be able to vote. He'll need to choose his path in life. He will be held completely accountable for his own actions.

It's an exciting time. Part of me can't wait for him to learn the ways of the world. The possibilities for him are endless, but he'll also get a dose of the reality he has been refusing to acknowledge. I'm hoping life will teach him valuable lessons without being too harsh. I'm hoping he'll learn to look toward the future. To plan. To weigh his options instead of jumping at the easiest and most convenient solution.

He's looking forward to getting out from under parental rule. I can understand that. I've been there before. But I also remember the times I had to make those hard life decisions for myself. I had to take responsibility for making the wrong choices. I had to learn that in certain situations it's better to think more with my head and less with my heart. But my oldest son is all heart. What decisions will he make? What path will he choose?

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