The Wise One

The other day, as Younger and I were driving home after a visit with his grandparents, at most a fifteen minute trip, he asked, “Can I turn the heat down?”

“Oh, yeah,” I told him. “I was getting hot, too, but I thought I could wait it out.”

From the corner of my eye, I could see him turn sightly towards me, his head at an inquisitive tilt. “Mom, the knob is right there.” He pointed towards the dash. “You can reach it. No problem.”

“Yeah. I know.” I shrugged. “I just thought we were almost home, and I could wait it out.”

He shook his head, settling back in his seat. “Usually, Mom, you are wise and like the exact opposite of stubborn. But then sometimes . . .”

Well, huh, I’m wise.

As a mom of a teenager, I take that as a real proper compliment.

And I’ll just overlook that whole “usually” part . . .

Because, you know, I’m wise that way.



Living somewhere in the back of beyond, we have few options for internet. For the last eighteen months, we have settled on tethering to our phones. But we only have twenty gig of data.

So, let’s do some math.

Twenty gig of data divided by two young men equals . . . no data in about five minutes.

Since I need internet for my employment, we have warned the boys that we will shut them down at six gig.

And so we have.

Every. Single. Month.

This month they almost lasted three weeks. But on Tuesday, Younger’s birthday, I checked the current usage.

“You’re over your limit,” I told Younger.

“No, I’m not,” he stated, staring into my eyes like he had access to the Jedi mind trick. “I’m not over my limit.”

I rolled my eyes, and due to the day being his seventeenth birthday, I allowed him to continue to have access.

His dad was not so gifting. Or perhaps he is immune to the Jedi.

“Will be late. Had to stop to turn off the boys’ data,” he texted me while I was in class.

“The betrayal,” Younger howled as soon as I stepped into the house. “The treachery.”

“You know the limits, Younger,” I responded.

“How can you so betray me? Your only teenage son?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Where do you want to go for your birthday?”

“Wherever they have internet.”

“You are spending time with your family, not your phone.”

“Oh, the betrayal!”

Ah, that he has to deal with such perfidy. And on his birthday, even.

Life . . . without internet . . . apparently, it ain’t for the sissies.

I really don’t know how are forefathers survived.







Elder is now twenty years old. Well, twenty years and two days, actually.

For the last several weeks, Younger taunted, “Have you realized, Mom, that in just a few weeks, Elder will no longer be a teenager?”

Then late Monday night, when I texted that I loved and missed him while he traveled with his Dad, Younger responded, “Elder is 19 years 364 days, and 21 years old. Still love/miss me?”

Not quite as much.

The last day I had with my oldest as a teenager, he sprawled on the sofa with his head in my lap. “Stop petting my hair,” he told me, shaking his head so the curls fell back into place. “I’m not a dog.” But then after a moment, he offered, “You can scratch my back.”

“I thought you weren’t a dog,” I countered.

But I scratched his back.

And now Younger is the only teenager in our household.

Which he views as a position to be spoiled.

How did the years slip through greedy fingers? How did the tiny baby wrapped tightly in a blanket morph overnight into a grown man?

When exactly did I lose control?

Oh, yeah, I remember.

July 12, 1996.

Some Lucky Lady

“Hey, Mom,” Younger hollered down the hallway last night.

I peeked around my computer towards the direction of his voice. “Yeah?”

“Have I taken a shower tonight?”

I blinked. “Uh, I don’t think so?”

“I don’t think so, either,” he finally muttered.

“Well, is your towel wet?”

“Oh, it’s hanging up. Not in the floor. So, I haven’t taken a shower today.”

I sighed. “That’s just sad, Younger.”

“Just honest,” he replied cheerfully. “And a little funny.”

Ah, yes, and, some day, he will bless one lucky lady with his humor.

She may strangle him with a wet towel.

But she’ll be laughing all the while.