My boy is 17, started his senior year of high school last week. Nate is a big boy, 6’2″ tall and roughly 210 pounds. I still have to describe him as a boy, not a young man, because he still has a ton of growing up to do, a bit of catch up maturity wise. Instead of giving reasons why I think that, I will skip the explanation. A lot of his maturity is a product of this day and age, video games and skimpy responsibility. That’s enough.
Last year, our daughter Alyssa was a live in camp counselor at a bible camp located on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Living there was heaven for her, a job well suited to her nurturing personality, a chance to deal one on one with kids in varying age groups from ages 8 to 17. Her last week of camp last summer was as counselor for the coed high school group. Somehow she helped us convince her pessimistic brother to attend that week of camp.
Camp weeks start on Sunday afternoon and finish the following Saturday morning. The day before that week of camp was to start was difficult to say the least, a fight with a waffling boy who changed his mind.. with a fight… many times that day. Sunday morning came, his suitcase packed in our car, and more cajoling ensued. The whole 90 minute drive found me wishing that I had noise cancelling ear plugs, what with the constant fighting between Nate and his mother, as well as his insistence that I turn the car around. We got to the camp with more struggle. Registration ended at 2 PM. We registered him, but he fought us so hard to take him home that I finally just said OK, let’s go home. We loaded him back in the car and started driving him back towards Illinois.
Eventually his mother won the fight. Nate not only stayed for the week of camp, but he thoroughly enjoyed it. The guys in his cabin were athletic and big, like Nate, the same types of personalities. He made great friends, enough that he stayed in contact with them all year after camp was over.
I also saw pictures of him, pictures I am not sure he wanted me to see, of him with a cute little petite girl, his arm around her and a big smile on his face. Hmmmmm.
A few weeks ago, he went to camp again. There was no fight this time. He made sure that he got in the same cabin with his friends from last year. After camp, he has borrowed my car several times to go see those friends.
Today, he borrowed my car to drive to Lake Geneva. It took some persistence to get information out of him of who he was going to see and why I couldn’t just drive him. He coughed up the information after I told him that he was not getting my car until he told me.
He and one of his friends were going to watch their camp girlfriends play in a volleyball tournament. OK. Good enough reason. I wouldn’t want my dad around either.
Nate is a fair skinned blue eyed curly haired blonde. He has never shaved until this morning. I showed him how, helped him finish the shave after he shaved with my supervision. The blonde fuzz cooperated fairly well, a bit more there than I realized. But he cleaned up well.
Miracle of all miracles.. he called a few minutes ago to let me know that he got there OK. He also asked how much money that I thought he was going to have to spend on gas. One of the stipulations of my agreeing to let him go was that he had to use his own money for the trip, a source of much conflict the past few days. For possibly the first time ever, he was expected to conserve his resources and not blow his money on fast food or video games. It was tough, but he did it.
It’s a start. Maybe, just maybe, “young man” might be coming from my lips some time soon. I hope so. Honestly, I was skeptical until now. We’ll see!