My son turns fourteen today. The picture above is obviously from years ago, but it is a favourite of mine so I stuck it at the top of this post.
How things have changed over the years that he has been alive. He has grown into a fine young man. He has a mind of his own, and no longer needs his mom and dad as much as he did when he was younger. When I am not butting heads with him, we have a lot of fun together. Even when we are butting heads, I still love him and wouldn't trade him for all the riches in the world. And I mean that.
One thing I miss these days, is that we don't talk as much as we used to. He has other things on his mind. What do teenage boys have on their minds? Gadgets, for sure. Girls for sure. I don't imagine much else matters at the moment.
It is amazing what kids remember. They don't remember to do their homework, clean the litter box, or take out the garbage. They do remember a promise a parent made years ago. I mentioned to my son a long, long time ago that when he started high school, I would get him a cell phone, so I could reach him at any time of day or night. I would need to know exactly where he was at every minute. Fast forward a few years. He is now about to go to high school.
"Dad, remember that promise to get me a cell phone when I started high school? Well, school is only a month away, and it's my birthday, and you did promise, so what do you think?"
That's the condensed version.
What could I do? I did make that promise. So, yesterday we went to the local mall and got him a cell phone. The deal I made with him is that he never exceeds the allotted minutes on the plan we signed up for, or he pays for the overage himself and then loses the phone afterwards.
As I sat in my office this morning, my MSN chirped and announced that my son was online. I saw that his MSN handle or nickname had been changed and that it now contained his cell phone number. Here is a transcript of our MSN chat:
Me: Hey, Bozo, don't use up all your cell phone minutes or your dad is going to be supremely pissed off!!! Otherwise, how is your day?
He: i just woke up
Me: And a very Happy Birthday
He: um thanks
Me: you are going to have a great day, and i'm glad you have a cell phone now
Me: you are a man of few words, aren't you?
Me: Is it because you can't type fast enough?
Me: I have two words for you: Mavis Beacon!!
It isn't really that he can't type fast enough, of course, it is that conversations with his friends are currently more interesting and exciting than a dialogue with his dad. That's OK. We all grow up, sometimes too quickly, and forget what it was like to be young ourselves. In among the serious parts of our lives, it's OK to have some fun, as long as it is not irresponsible or harmful to others. This is his time to have fun.
Happy Birthday, son. I love you. And remember not to burn through those cell phone minutes. You wouldn't want to upset your dad, right? See you tonight.