I was going to write a little more about RWA today, but my mood changed when Two threw his dirty clothes on top of my clean hand washables in the machine, and then proceeded to run them through a second cycle, with high spin. Did I mention they were my brand new clothes from the conference? And that he washed them with his Velcro-waisted bathing suits? When I shrieked and went upstairs to tell him that it's always advisable to LOOK INSIDE THE WASHER before using it, he stared at me and then laughed.
"It's not funny, Two," I steamed. "I'm not laughing."
His facial expression changed to bewilderment, laced with a healthy dose of annoyance.
"I just threw everything in. It's not like I planned it."
I stormed out of his room.
Later, when he had collected his clothes from the dryer, where they'd been pitched after I angrily sorted them from my twisted delicates, I told him to meet me for a discussion. He asked if I would drive him to meet his friends to watch the fireworks. Seriously. I told him to sit down, make eye contact with me, and listen, because that is how one shows courtesy and respect.
I explained that I was sure he hadn't deliberately ruined my clothes, but when I came to him, the proper response would have been to apologize first, and make excuses later. Similarly, when he was on vacation in Florida the whole previous week, it would have been courteous and respectful to contact one or more of his parents, via text or phone call, to let them know he was alive.
Eye-rolling, followed by an exasperated sigh, and the disclaimer that I hadn't asked him to do that.
I did not lose my mind. I know; you're shocked, aren't you? I actually paused to marvel at how the teaching opportunities never end. I wondered how many more years I would be so lucky.
What followed was a long, somewhat emotional discussion, regarding giving his parents what we want. I emphasized how this important lesson would translate to all aspects of his life, as he attended high school and college, and later in his personal and work relationships. ANTICIPATE WHAT I WANT, AND GIVE IT TO ME. I DON'T CARE IF YOU WANT TO OR NOT.
Did this mean he would live a life of servitude? No. Could he share his thoughts and feelings? Yes. Was he still beholden to us until he moved out? Absolutely.
Angry tears welled in his eyes. At that moment, I realized he was a true teenager. And it made me sad. I had such high hopes for him. I thought we had a nice rapport that would help us navigate these next few years with only a few minor bumps and bruises. Now, it appears there's no guarantee we won't crash and end up in the ER.
I drove Two to meet his friends. Before he got out of the car, I hugged him.
"Two," I said, "you're a fifteen year-old boy. You're going to hate me over the next few years. Try to give me what I want, and I'll do the same for you. Let's keep talking, and see how it all works out. I love you."
He hugged me back, hopped out, and ran off to celebrate Independence Day.