Seventeen-Point-Oh!

On Tuesday, the boy celebrated another birthday.  I was a little emotional, because the boy turned seventeen.

And seventeen?

Well, the truth of the matter is that seventeen is only three hundred and sixty-five days away from LEGALIZED ADULTHOOD.  Legalized adulthood is the thing that clamps down on my heart and squeezes… like a gorilla hanging onto a banana.  I have no idea how we managed to get so far along the age spectrum with that big boy of ours, because I swear he was just toddling around in footie pajamas, with a binky hanging out of his mouth, nine minutes ago.

Nine.  Minutes.  Ago.

But… here we are… at seventeen.

The boy has always been one of those good eggs, who throws joy to those around him, wherever he goes.  He is happy and confident; he is polite and social.  His heart overflows with kindness and generosity and love for his family and friends.  He has always been such a good kid, and this summer has shown us exactly what he’s made of, as he’s tackled the working world full-on.  That boy has been working fifty hours a week, all summer long, and he does it cheerfully, with enthusiasm.  Whenever we pop out to the golf course, countless adults will stop me or Hubs, to tell us how much they enjoy having the boy behind the counter at the clubhouse.  They always let us know what a fine young man he is.  A little pack of white-haired great-grandmothers, who still golf, bring him homemade cookies and pat his hand and tell him what a treasure he is.

Little do they know that he sometimes doesn’t mow the yard when he’s supposed to, and he has a tendency to kick his dirty clothes under his bed, where they rot before I find them.

The boy embodies all that is good.

He has also shown his monthly budget to his parents, in which he puts 50% of his paychecks into his savings account, 20% into his wallet for FUN MONEY, and then uses the rest to make his car payment and buy gas.  In other words, Hubs and I fear that we are probably not his real parents, because where on earth did THAT rung come from on his DNA ladder?  When Hubs and I find an extra five dollar bill in a coat pocket, we wave it enthusiastically and shout, “Who wants to go to Starbucks?!”  Hubs and I have no fear that the boy will one day be wealthy enough to see to it that we have the best nursing home money can buy.  It’ll be a place that serves fresh, organic green peas, locally raised and harvested, instead of the canned variety.  However, with him being a BOY and all, I do worry that he’ll never think to tell the nursing assistants at the home that they should remember to DILIGENTLY pluck the wiry chin hairs that seem to sprout over night on me.  Even though I will be eating the good peas, in my dementia, I may also have a full beard that I’m not even aware of.

A daughter would think of these things, but my fear is that a son will not.

Anyway.

We rang that boy’s seventeenth birthday in loudly, with cheering and enthusiasm, and I don’t think he had any real idea how tender his mama’s heart was, as she realized exactly how close he is to being a real, live MAN.  He opened presents (GOLF CLUBS!  IMAGINE THAT!  AND POLO SHIRTS FOR GOLFING!  ANOTHER BIG SURPRISE!), and then Hubs and I sent him off with a couple of his best friends to play a round of golf.  They put in nine quick holes, and then they ordered steaks and fancy pastas and burgers at the clubhouse for lunch together.

And then that kid went to golf practice for Small Town High School, because apparently there is never any such thing as TOO MUCH GOLFING IN ONE DAY.

His mama managed to steal him away for some quick seventeen-year-old pictures and a birthday frappuccino (CARAMEL!  EXTRA CARAMEL!  IT’S HIS BIRTHDAY!), before we picked his little brother up from an evening spent at VBS.  We came home, and there were his friends at our back door, bearing a homemade ice cream cake that I couldn’t have.

The Whole30 is going to kill me dead in deprivation.

We sat around that ice cream cake, sang a rousing rendition of HAPPY BIRTHDAY to him, and laughed our heads off with teenagers.  We laughed so hard, I ended up needing to dab my eyes and hold my side.

Teenagers are wonderful people.

And OUR teenager is one of the most wonderful ones I’ve ever met.  We thank Jesus all the time for believing in us… for believing that WE were exactly the right parents for this kid.

And the answer is yes.  These snapshots really DO… SORT OF… IF YOU TILT YOUR HEAD JUST RIGHT… look like SENIOR PICTURES, but I will wash your mouths out with soap for even suggesting that.

THESE ARE JUNIOR, JUNIOR, JUNIOR PICTURES!!  They’re just pictures of a seventeen year old boy, who is about to begin his JUNIOR YEAR of high school in a couple of weeks.  (Also?  The evening light was GORGEOUS AND FANTASTIC.  A real photographer could’ve captured it in her pictures, but I am not a real photographer; I ruined the gorgeous light completely.  Blesses.)

I still have an entire year before I have to blow the top of my head off with anxiety about THIS IS MY BABY’S SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL.  I’m going to relish this junior year with a whole lot of love and enthusiasm and joy.

And maybe with a few stern words about MOW THAT YARD ON THE DAYS YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO MOW THAT YARD, AND DADGUM IT!!  PULL ALL THOSE DIRTY SHIRTS OUT FROM BENEATH YOUR BED SO THAT THEY CAN BE WASHED AND QUIT ROTTING AND STINKING UP OUR HOME!!

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