I keep stealing glances at our teenager as we sit at the laptop, and I’m trying not to snatch the mouse away or jump on the keyboard because I know I’m a faster typist. Today, our son is applying for his first job. Many of his friends are already working and driving, but we allowed Joshua to go a little longer without pursuing either. For one, he didn’t express an interest in driving like we expected him to. His father wasn’t too upset because he wasn’t looking forward to the jump in insurance rates.
For the other, we didn’t push him to get a part-time job as soon as he turned sixteen because we wanted him to focus solely on school and Boy Scouts. We wanted, and were able, to extend him the luxury of a little more time to stay young, if not little, in a world that is demanding he grow up fast.
We’ve come a long way since the days of Lightning Juice and This Mothering Stuff is Hard. Sometimes it seemed like a blur, and at other times the moments ground by painfully slow. But Josh has taken an interest in his own life lately now that Scouting is winding down and his senior year approaches. So, I sit beside this young man whose most recent goal is to grow tall enough that he can fit my head under his chin the way I did to him when he was little.
This young man with a square jaw reminiscent of his Grandfather Smith when he was a young marine. This young man who has been cutting grass on the gargantuan riding lawnmower since he was eleven and a half. This young man who cracks us both up when he types “Cuz i neds a jub” in the “Why do you want to work here?” section of the online application. This young man who started shaving the peach fuzz that quickly turned into the stubble I feel when I kiss his cheek. This young man who can play ‘Jingle Bells’ doing arm farts. This young man who wants to earn enough money this summer to put a dent in his upcoming post-high school education and pay for his car insurance.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Now the things we want for Joshua are giving way to the things he wants for himself. Of course our desires for our son will always be for his benefit, but we’ll yield to him more and more as he shows maturity. And we’ll be there for the times he doesn’t, guiding him back to the right path.
I often wonder if we did enough, laid a strong foundation for him. Only time will tell, but for right this moment, while he’s still a goofy teen, while we’re pulling our hair out when he’s sassy and driving us crazy, I’ll store up these memories for the day he heads out on his own.