69 Shades Of Grey

There is a teenager down the hall who told me today that he intends to win our bet.

It is a friendly wager between father and son, “$40 bucks says he’ll kiss a girl by the time he is 20.”

Part of me wonders if sharing this online will lead to a wave of criticism from people who take issue with it.

Ask me why and I’ll tell you it is because Facebook often feels like a seething pool of people who are anxiously searching for things to be outraged about.

But People Don’t Have To Approve Of You and I don’t care if they like it or not because the real purpose of sharing it here is because the blog is supposed to help chronicle the moments and minutes in the lives of my children.

That bet came from a couple of conversations in which my son asked me about my dating history and time with girls prior to his mother.

It was really a tongue-in-cheek response to his saying that girls are a pain-in-the-ass and he would never want to have a girlfriend.

Hormones Change Everything

When I made the bet I told him that nature has a way of influencing our behavior and that if you looked at things from a scientific method it made sense that there would be tools and resources nature could and would use to ensure the propagation of the species.

But the most important part of the bet is the conversation because what I want is for him to feel comfortable to speak with me about anything.

Hormones and puberty change things.

There was a time when I couldn’t go anywhere without him wanting to be my shadow but that doesn’t happen the way it used to.

It is not because I have tried to stop it but because the teenage boy isn’t interested in hanging out with dad the same way he used to be.

He spends large chunks of time alone in his room and I am cool with that because I remember being the same way.

I remember feeling torn about talking to my father about things that were really important to me because I thought I was supposed to handle some of that stuff on my own.

It wasn’t because dad pushed me away but because I wanted to prove I was old enough to take care of myself. It was because I created the space and wasn’t always sure how to bridge the gap.

The kid doesn’t believe I was really a teenage boy anymore than I believed that my dad was. Sure we both knew that it must have happened but it was easier to believe that things/are so different now dad just won’t understand.

It is a learning and growing experience for both of us. I know him well, but even so I can’t always predict what will make him smile and what will make him groan.

69 Shades Of Grey

I can’t tell you when he found out the 50 shades series wasn’t about colors but I know he cringed when he discovered it was on his mother’s kindle.

Hell, I sort of cringed when I found out my own mother had read those books. I know damn well she had her experiences before and after I was born but I prefer not to think about it.

Anyway, one day that big boy of mine overhears a conversation in which I shared the year of my birth. I don’t remember why it came up but I remember how he said, “dad you were born in ’69” and then blanched a little bit.

For a moment I was irritated about the loss of innocence and then I thought about it and realized that by the time I was 13 I knew what ’69 referred to and he is almost 15.

It is not a horrible thing for him to know and if you compare it to some of the stories in the news I’d rather he be aware of ’69 than child molesters and terrorists who behead, crucify and burn people to death.

I can't tell you when he found out the 50 shades series wasn't about colorsClick To Tweet

My oldest nephew isn’t all that much older than my son. He has already had a couple of girlfriends and I have a good laugh listening to my little sister complain that some stupid girl has got her son twisted up.

I get it, we never want to see our children get hurt.

Truth is I don’t care when my son has his first kiss. There is no particular rush here I just hope it is a good experience.

Part of me is excited because some of the experiences he has in front of him are simply awesome. Some of them can be amazing and even life changing.

But some of them can be very hard and painful too.

There is no good without bad and no bad without good.

My job is to help him navigate them and grow into a man who is a capable and productive member of society.

Flip through the pages and posts here and you’ll see my philosophy hasn’t changed. Can’t wrap the kids in bubble wrap or stop them from getting hurt, but we can give them the tools to manage their lives.

One More Comment

Sometimes the strangest part of it all is realizing that I am old enough to have a kid his age and that the bulk of “child rearing” has taken place already.

There is a still a healthy chunk of road to go, but hell he is closer to college than to kindergarten which means I am that much closer to not being able to say that middle age is a few years off.

Thanks for aging me kid. 😉

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