Things Only Get Weirder From Here (For Both of Us)

Double Digits. Oh boy. You’re ten years old and that means that you aren’t a baby, you aren’t a child, and you’re not even my little boy anymore. You are – *cringe* – a pre-teen. And that means one thing: puberty is coming.

Yes, Mom just said that word. No, I don’t like it either.

Things only get weirder from here, for both of us, I’m afraid. Here’s a list of all the things that we used to think were weird and uncomfortable that will become our new normal. Like I said, this bodes true for both of us.


  1. Yep, we have to talk about what you smell like because it’s not good, bud. I know what your dad smells like, and, honestly, that is also not my favorite thing either. Use that deodorant I put on your desk with the cologne you got for Christmas every day. (Nope, I’m not kidding, every single day. Sometimes twice. Maybe more because you play sports, kiddo).

 

  1. You think the hair on your elbow is annoying, wait until it’s growing in other places. I don’t want to say where but judging by the way you just glanced down and asked me “Not everywhere, right?” I have a feeling that we’re going to have to talk about it just a little. Yes, it does grow EVERYWHERE on EVERYONE. Let’s switch topics, yeah?

 

  1. Please don’t put your hands in your pants in front of other people. I don’t care the reason why you did it, please stop telling me, just don’t do it. Yeah? Yeah. Good. Moving on.

 

  1. If you hear a word and you think you know what it means, maybe ask your dad or me first? Because sometimes you use grown up words that you heard at school and you use them incorrectly (or just use them, some of those things you shouldn’t be saying AT ALL, just so you know). I promise that we’ll explain these things to you no matter how uncomfortable it is because we don’t want you to use those words somewhere else and get in trouble or be embarrassed because you understand.

 

  1. Let’s not move our hips that way at people. You don’t need to know why, okay, just don’t do it because you’re way too young to know what that means – but some of your friends probably do already, and let’s just avoid all of the awkward rumors and confrontations that will result from that continued movement. I promise this is for the best. No, I’m really not going to explain it right now, so drop it.

 

  1. Dad already ruined the gross surprise about where babies come from. Let’s just leave it at that for now. You’ll be getting that talk in about six months at school and they’re way more qualified to give you the medical information than we are – if you have questions afterwards, then we’ll sit down and have that chat as a family unit. Probably with some cake so we at least have something to distract us from how uncomfortable it is to be discussing all of that stuff.

 

  1. I know everyone used to joke about having boyfriends or girlfriends when you were little – but that’s not a joke anymore. You are not allowed to have boyfriends or girlfriends at this age now because of all of the new puberty stuff that’ll be happening. We definitely would prefer if you waited to date people until you’re fifteen, yeah? Dating has so many implications and, right now, we just need to get over the pre-teen hurdle. Yes, you – me – and dad. All three of us need to make it to thirteen first. We will revisit the topic then.

 

  1. Sometimes we will have to talk about private things and, trust me, nobody wants to do that except your doctor. We want to be on an ‘as-needed’ basis for information like that, but also – don’t be embarrassed to let us know if you’re worried about something. We will be too – and we will get you to the doctor so that he can have that weird conversation with you instead.

 

  1. Your emotions will make no sense. I mean, really, they have never made sense because children have weird emotional reactions to literally everything. But pre-teens and teenagers move through those emotions so quickly… We won’t be able to keep up. We’re trying. We know it’s just as bad for you. I know you don’t believe me now, but remember when you cried because we asked you to stop chewing on your eraser? Lots more of that kind of stuff to come, my dude.

 

  1. Everyone thinks that they are ugly, or fat, or gross during puberty – but it’s not your job to decide that for other people or yourself. You are a great person just the way you are, even as your body starts changing from a child’s body into a young adult’s body. You are wonderful, fantastic, beautiful, amazing! Your brain will try to make you think you’re less than because sometimes that’s just how the brain works during puberty (What a gross word, blech), but you’re not. Dad and I will always be here when you’re feeling down about something – even if it’s something none of us really want to talk about. We will listen because we love you.

Pre-teen years are going to be crazy, but not more than the upcoming teenager years – when you’ll be spending the night with friends all weekend, going to dances and parties for school, learning to drive, and getting a job. You’ve done all of your growing up and now it’s time for your maturing. The first adventure in our life is done.

Things only get weirder from here, for both of us, but someday – you’ll be glad for this list. I hope that being able to talk about the weird, gross, and awkward things will keep our relationship as mother, father, and son strong. We are always on your side.

No matter what that side smells like… 😉

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2 Months & Counting: A Complaint Post about being a grown up…

Dear Readers,

I have two jobs. So it’s been two months since I’ve posted anything, and closer to three months since I’ve posted any new creative content. I feel like I’m drowning because of it.

I gave up a career in which I could have excelled were I happy, but I left that job to be a writer and the mother I always wished I could be to my son. My husband graciously supported me in that endeavor but these things take time. The plan was always for me to get an easy part-time job that never had work that came home with me.

I am simply not that kind of person. Work never stays at work because I do everything with 110% of myself. My work is what defines me, and when I do work that doesn’t make me happy as a I result I become unhappy. Since July my depression has been worsening and worsening, which only flares my anxiety to unmanageable levels. In these months I’ve considered divorce a dozen or so times, suicide even in the worst of days, but I force myself to persevere. I force myself to brave the storms because I created them.

I like to believes somewhere in my subconscious I created these storms to test myself and my family, to see if we are great and capable as I’ve always believed. The other part of me is convinced these the consequences of selfish decision-making. Financial strain at the cost of happiness… But, alas, I insist that writing is a part of me because I’ve never been happier than when I could wake and write for anyone willing to read.

So forgive me if you’re still here. Forgive me if you’re not. Forgive me because in so many ways I can’t forgive myself. I hope that I will find the time to write here for you and grasp at those tendrils of joy that float at my fingertips. I would hope that you would be there waiting to see what it is I come up with in the future.

Please remember that I wish for your happiness.

Yours,

ab

Maybe It’s My Calling?

Alison Michaels storms through the front door for what I think is the tenth time this week. It seems like every single time she’s slated to hang out with her “best friend” Kelly, they get into a bit of an argument about Bradley.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure why because Bradley and Kelly have broken up. They say it’s because of the kiss but I am pretty confident that it probably also has to do with the fact that Kelly never wants to go to parties and that’s all Bradley wants to do these days. Even though their crack was tiny that relationship was doomed from the start.

To be fair, I warned him about it.

“Is Bradley even here?” Alison complains while she checks all of his usual potato nests. Couch? Entertainment room? Basement? Bedroom? The potato is gone but I assume that she’ll figure it out soon enough. It’s spring break, after all, and he can’t be expected to be home at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon.

“Non, mademoiselle.” My fake ass French accent is probably terrible. Somehow, though, it makes that grumpy little dolly looking face of hers scrunch up in amusement. Maybe I have a gig in comedy if this whole “associates degree in general education” doesn’t work out.

As you can tell, my aspirations are quite ambitious.

Alison drops her handbag and her phone onto the counter and reaches for an apple out of our fruit bowl. Honestly, I am pretty sure that the fruit bowl is for show. Once every other week or so a co-worker comes home with mom to review the goals for the month; I’ve always assumed that they work together but the other person might be a personal assistant of some sort.

Truth be told – I care absolutely none about it.

“My mom might be pissed that you’re eating her decorations. I’ll just tell her Bradley did it.” I partake in an apple myself and give her a quick smile.

Honestly, Alison is one of those girls that are attractive in an innocent childhood kind of way. Her monotone black hair tied into a sloppy bun at the back of her head, strands falling over her untrimmed eyebrows. She’s still got baby fat in her cheeks and on her stomach. I am betting she’s self conscious about it because she layers her clothes. As a freshman in college, I see this crap all the time.

“I cannot stand Kelly’s constant badgering anymore! If she would wait two minutes and let me talk she’d know what actually happened!” Alison grumbles as she chews her apple with an open mouth. I watch a drop of juice jump from her mouth onto countertop. Oh so charming, and yet not so surprising.

“Well, I’ll listen. Getting it off your chest could help.” I suggest, shrugging my shoulders and making a point to chew my food with my mouth shut. Alison contemplates the offer for a moment before looking over her shoulder. I suppose she’s checking the driveway – seeing if my parents are home. They know about the break-up but they don’t know why. They didn’t care. They think Bradley is very sketchy and could care less if he didn’t commit any crimes.

Alison leans over the counter just a tiny bit, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I noticed her cleavage. That’s the problem with layers. They perk up the boobs and make everything more obvious when you bend over; with everything held firmly in place they look perfect at every angle in every position. I have to advise myself to take another bite to distract myself; “I kissed Bradley because I wasn’t sure if I’m a lesbian or bisexual.”

Oh, sweetheart.

I want to tell her that she should have done this with a stranger. Less complicated. I’ve been there, though, and no matter what you’re doing there’s a mistake or two to be made. It’s all part of the growing up process. On the plus side, she is into girls so I feel less guilty about my attraction to her.

“You don’t need to label your sexuality, kid. You love who you wanna love. You boink who you wanna boink. You hate who you wanna hate. Everything else is concrete so why label your sexuality and emotions until you understand them?” My roommate at the college is a sophomore and she said she is always has this conversation. She goes to a lot of parties geared towards homosexuals and transgender individuals, and she operates as a free unlicensed crises counselor. It sounds like she should more or less call herself “a temporary companion,” but that also sounds like a prostitute, so… which is really worse?

I lose this argument against myself.

“You make it sound like it’s no big deal.” Her laugh is crisp and muffled by half chewed fruit. This girl is extremely sloppy and I just want to take the apple form her hand and toss it in the trash. Manners are all but forgotten in this next generation, man.

Eventually, she does quit eating and she just stares at a wall; “Is it that easy, though? Is it really as easy as just doing what I want with who I want how I want? High school makes such a big deal about being straight or gay or celibate and – just blah.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Well, technically there are truer words because it’s not just sexuality that being in high school makes overly difficult. High school makes everything feel like the end of the world. So much crap happens to kids in high school that impacts them for the rest of their lives and adults stress all of the wrong things.

I am lucky enough that I had supportive parents – they don’t care even the slightest that I’m a lesbian. They don’t care what I do with my life as long as it’s not unhealthy or illegal. Such is the joy of hybrid corporate hippies as parents.

“It actually is that easy. If you see someone you like – just be honest about it. If that person doesn’t reciprocate – just move on. There is always someone out there that will like you back and that’s what you deserve.” Alison leans back as she has the epiphany that confirms that I am basically a goddess of wisdom. Eating up the reality of life – you just do what you want as long as nobody is being victimized.

Abruptly she stands up and throws her hands in the air; “Well hot damn!”

“I am hot, and damn it is amazing.” This is a remark I make often. It dispels any chances of someone singing that annoying song. There is absolutely no need for police and firemen to come to the party unless the house is on fire or people are dying…

“That you are.” Alison laughs, hands folding together on the countertop. This girl is too adorable for me to ignore her every movement. There is certain hesitation as she glances around the room. Pretty princess is probably waiting for me to acknowledge that she’s affirmed my hotness level.

But I wouldn’t have said I was hot if there wasn’t some part of my soul that believed I was attractive. So I just grin, “Always nice to hear someone agree with me.”

“You’re cocky.” It is unclear to me if she is actually mad or just feigning anger.

My sarcasm does nothing to help me tell the difference, and as such word vomit proceeds, “Not possible. I have a vagina. If I’m anything I am clitoral – but that doesn’t function as an adjective in the same way as cocky.”

Alison slides around the corner smoothly, pretending that she’s laugh so hard that she’s lost her balance. I suppose it is possible that she has lost her balance to some degree unintentionally. That being said, the way she looks up at me asserts that she is also aware of her proximity.

A plan executed too well.

I can be okay with that, though.

“Aren’t you going to tell me how hot I am?” It would be courteous, wouldn’t it? A compliment for a compliment: isn’t that, like, the rule of niceties? I’m not one for niceties. Instead I wrap a hand around the back of her neck and yank her into a rough kiss, impassioned with fleeting attraction and amusement.

Thankfully she reciprocates the momentary lust. Kissing other people without asking, or having actual cues to do so without asking, is always a risk. Unwanted contact classifies as sexual assault. Dark thoughts of thank-god-that-didn’t-happen aside, our embrace is short-lived and leaves Alison breathless. The seconds have barely melted away when she laughs; “Well that was more than I bargained for!”

Even though there would be nothing illegal about sleeping with her, I choose to back off. She is sixteen and needs to explore with someone her own age. Legally, I could if I wanted.

But that’s just it, though; I don’t want to do anything else with Alison. I was just interested in kissing her this one time. For the memory, you could say. Now that she can be at home in her own skin, I doubt she’ll be leaning on Bradley or Kelly for much longer. She raises an eyebrow cueing me for a response. I decide I might as well give it to her; “That’s just how the story goes, I guess.”

Neither of us says much else after. Her phone starts ringing, turns out Kelly calling to apologize for the outburst that drove Alison here in the first place. I listen very closely as Alison walks out the front door purse in hand a smile on her lips, commanding Kelly to shut up so she can finally tell her the truth about what happened. It seems that Kelly is being reasonable.

So my work is done.

Maybe I could do this more often. Changing the lives of people is tingly. I really like it.