Posts Tagged ‘friendships’

Yet Another Thing I Will Miss When My Kid Goes to College

We are less than a month away from the day that we leave our older son behind at college and head home to a slightly emptier house.

In order to avoid thinking about that for too long, I have been putting my energy into dealing with all of crap that needs to be done before he leaves for school: dorm room shopping, doctor’s appointments, haircut appointments, clothes shopping and, as a last-minute stressor, wisdom teeth extractions.

I’ve also been cleaning out closets, reading articles about easing the transition, and trying to get a prescription for Xanax to help with my separation issues (just kidding – I actually bought a case of wine).

I am going to be ready…or so I thought.

This morning I found a box of donuts and a bag of gummi candies on our front porch. They were from my older son’s friends. Apparently, he’s been having a rough week that I was unaware of. Yes, I knew about his sun poisoning and previously mentioned wisdom tooth pain, but the other part of it—the possible end of a long-term relationship—I was not privy to. He turned to his closest friends for that support and they rallied.

See, the best way to cheer up my 18-year-old is to feed him, so that’s what they did.

I cried.

My son has the nicest friends; they really look out for each other. But, more than that, they are really a great group of kids to have around…and they are leaving, too.

I’m going to miss having them around.

I may bitch and moan occasionally because they are at our house a lot, but I really only care when I’m in the mood to sprawl out on the couch in my stretched out yoga pants, eat cookies and watch bad TV. (I try not to do that in front of the kids lest they think that’s what happens when you’re older than 45, move to the suburbs and have kids. I don’t want to scare them).

The reality though is they usually don’t mind if my husband and I are around—yoga pants and all. They sit with us and even invite us to play board games or poker with them. Once, when a couple of the boys were hanging out with us, one of the boys told my husband and me about his plan to go to Las Vegas with our son for their 21st birthdays.  “You should come, too,” he said.

“You probably won’t want your parents with you in Vegas on your 21st birthdays,” I explained smiling as I pictured the scene.

“Why? You guys are cool,” he said. And he meant it!

No, really. He meant it!

I could have cried but that would have shown him how un-cool I really am.

The fact that these boys don’t want to flee when we walk in the room is only one of the reasons that I like them. They work hard at their jobs and at school, they do charitable work without being hounded and they are respectful of our home. They may eat all of the ice cream but the bowls are in the dishwasher when they are done and the counters are wiped clean. I can’t get my 14-year-old to do that; hell, I can’t get my husband to do that!

But the best thing about these boys is that  they are really, really nice to my youngest son.

That wasn’t always the case with my oldest son’s friends but, somehow, over the years, the friends who were mean to his little brother stopped being part of his posse.

I know it’s not easy to have a little brother around all the time (I’m a little sister, after all) but no one seems to mind him or, if they do, they don’t let it show. Half the time, a couple of them will be hanging out with him in our family room while the rest of the group is in the basement. Other times they invite him to join in. Just the other night my husband and I came home and found our youngest beating the older boys at poker, the next day he was playing tennis ball golf with them, and, as I write this, one of those boys—his “brother from another mother”—is working out with him as he prepares for soccer tryouts.

I’ve been worried about how my youngest is going to handle the separation from his brother but I didn’t think about how he might deal with the separation from his brother’s friends.

Thank God for social media…

I, am only “friends” with one of the boys on Facebook (his request, not mine) so I will have to get my information from my kids or hear snippets when they are back for school breaks.

In the mean time it will be odd—and a little quieter—without them around.

They will be missed.


Why Do Parents Have to Be the Grown-Ups?

Last weekend a very good friend of my older son’s showed up at my younger son’s championship baseball game – and rooted for the other team!!

Ridiculous, right? Who’s with me?

Granted he knew a kid on the other team but, still, why pick sides?

I know it sounds petty but WTF, this kid is in my house all the time and has been since he was 3 – that’s 13 years of dinners, snacks, sleepovers, movies, museums, you name it.

I didn’t let the behavior go unacknowledged – I just couldn’t. When he said, “Go Knights! (the name of the opposing team), I responded: “No more food for you in my house.” And I really meant it.

My husband thinks I’m ridiculous. I think I’m totally justified.

I want to question this kid about his behavior, let him know that I do not approve, and, more importantly, make him feel like crap about his decision. Apparently, that is not good adult behavior and I’m supposed to act like an adult.

But I don’t wanna! (If you were here you would have seen me stomp my foot).

Over the years, I’ve learned to bite my tongue when it comes to watching my kids’ friends behave badly. It tends to have a negative impact on my kid’s friendships. I once told my son that one of his friends was never allowed back in our house because he was being mean to my son in front of me and I thought that was disrespectful. Needless to say the kid never came back and my son didn’t stay friends with him. Apparently the kid is not a bully anymore but he’s still afraid of me.

I also scared another friend away when I accused him of stealing– which, let’s be clear – he did. But still, he was 6 at the time so maybe it wasn’t the best use of my energy.

I didn’t actually see him take the money but I cross-examined him and watched with relish as he tripped over his lies.

I was getting change from my purse for my son’s friend for the lemonade stand that he and my son were setting up in our front yard. I took out a five-dollar bill, put it on the counter and turned away for a minute (literally a minute and I mean literally, in the literal sense). When I turned back the money was gone and the kid was slowly walking away from the counter. Just then my son came back in the house and I turned to both boys, “Did you take the money off the counter?” I asked, not in an accusing manner more in a ‘Huh. Now where did I put that?’ kinda way.

“What money?” my son asked.

“The money that I just put on the counter?” I said, looking directly at my son’s friend. I pointed to the now barren counter. “It was right there.” I said.

“There wasn’t a five dollar bill on the counter,” the friend said.

Aha! I had him. I knew that I never said “five-dollars”; I just said “money.” But even with his slip up, he still wasn’t coughing up the dough. Short of frisking the kid and calling the cops there wasn’t much more that I could do.

A little while later the friend came back in the house without my son. “Look what I found outside,” he said, holding up a five-dollar bill.

“Really?” I asked innocently. “You just found that?” What I really wanted to scream was, “Seriously? Do I look like an idiot?” Instead, I waited.

“Yea,” he said. “I found it on the side of the house.” He went on to explain how someone must have dropped it when they were buying lemonade and it probably blew over to the side of the house.

I was really appalled at the extent of the lie. But I was on to him and I was moving in for the kill.

I asked him what side of the house he found it on and he pointed to the west side of the house.

“Was it wet?” I asked him.

He looked at me with an expression that seemed both puzzled and just a little bit frightened.

“Was the money wet?” I asked again.

“No,” he said, clearly confused.

“Interesting,” I said. “Because the sprinkler is on, on that side of the house.” I pointed (I’m sure, very dramatically) to the window where the water was spraying against the windows at regular intervals as the sprinkler moved back and forth in the yard.

It was a solid cross-examination. I didn’t go to law school for nothin’, you know.

He never actually confessed but he didn’t hang out here very much after that. Either he knew that I had his number or he thought I was crazy (probably both). Was it worth it? I don’t know. Would I want my kid to hang out with someone who swipes cash from my house? Probably not, but maybe it was just a phase the kid was going through. I’ll never know.

As for the baseball incident, my older son called his friend a traitor and they laughed about it. Very mature behavior.

I, on the other hand, am going to withhold all of the good snacks from that kid from now on. So there!

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