Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rites of Passage

You know how your write down all the "firsts" of your first-born child for a couple of years? I think the years 16-18 are filled with just as many firsts. As Ben and Logan hit these milestones, I try to celebrate them with the same sense of joy and liberation the boys feel. Sometimes, it's challenging. And I'll try to record some of them here -- at least those the don't violate their privacy too much.

In the last couple of years, I've taught two teen-agers to drive -- one of the toughest tests of the parent/child relationship. God willing, I won't ever have to do that again. Ben and Logan have such completely different learning styles, different approaches to driving, and different relationships to cars; it's hard to believe they grew up in the same household. Where Ben was tentative and cautious, Logan was filled with self-confidence (not always a good thing) and daring. Logan looks for any excuse to get behind the wheel and wouldn't think of riding the school bus. Ben doesn't mind riding the bus at all. Logan bought a car before he had a driver's license (and thought he had waited almost too long). Ben bought a bicycle on his 16th birthday.

And now, I'm getting ready to send a kid off to college. Planning, paper work, packing. So much to consider logistically. And then there's all the emotional stuff. Is he ready? Will he adapt to dorm life? Will he remember to go to class? to eat? to call his grandmother? to shower? to brush his teeth? Should I leave his room ready at home? move to a smaller house? how often will he come home? how often will I go to California to visit him? How can I stand to let him go? How could I stand to keep him from pursuing a dream. This is tough!

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