Sixteen

My son just celebrated his 16th birthday on Labor Day.  I’ll never forget Labor Day 2000, when I sat the couch for hours, watching a marathon of TLC’s A Baby Story and wondered if the week-overdue monkey in my uterus had his or her toes wrapped around my rib cage or what while my oldest darted around the room, ate Cheerios off the living room carpet and pulled every book out of the shelves so she could sit on the pile of books like a chicken on her roost. Good times.  Still took him another day to make his appearance at five minutes to midnight, during the sports highlights on the evening news.

He still likes to keep us waiting.

At 16, my son is now just a hair shy of his dad’s height of 5’8? and his voice has mostly settled down, after a few hilarious years of random voice cracking.  Still, when we invited his long-time internet friend out to visit from Ohio for his birthday weekend, we got a few happy squeaks out of him, which secretly warmed my heart.

 

 

He’s now a second-degree beginning brown belt in American Kenpo, which is pretty cool, and someday he hopes to get his black belt. He likes to kick people in the butt when they spar, but other than that, I think martial arts has been really great for giving him an outlet for his Teen Rage ™ that occasionally surfaces when his expectations don’t match up with parental realities.

The love for dinosaurs continues unabated, and he’s still crazy about video games. He’s developing “mods” for his favorites, or so he tells me. The kid still loves to talk and talk and talk and talk and in the last few years, he’s really loved to start arguing, or as he puts it, EXPLAINING HOW WE ARE ALL WRONG.

Maybe he’ll be a professor, or maybe he’ll be an attorney? Or maybe he’ll be a talk show host because he wants you to know what he knows, and he also wants to know what you know, but if you’re wrong, he’ll be happy to correct you, even if you’re right.

His skill with art continues to develop, and he’s still playing piano and singing in the choir at school. He loves to dabble in many things, mastering few and abandoning plenty (and leaving the rubble behind while he lopes off in the direction of the next sparkly project.)  He gets that from me, I think.

For a few years there, the three kids didn’t always get along, and there have been alliances formed, dissolved and formed anew as they continue to grow into the people they are today. I’m reminded each birthday how much they’ve changed and grown, expanding and contracting to find their fit in the world.  Meanwhile, I haven’t changed a bit. (Ha!)

Overachieving underachiever

Alright 2016, I’m ready for you to just chill out for a bit.  There’s just been too much going on in the last few weeks.

I just got back from NYC a week ago, and my husband was supposed to be on a business trip all week this week, but he had to rush home and the off again to help his dad with some medical issues.

Meanwhile, I managed to get all the rest of us to the eye doctor for checkups, and both my older daughter and I will have glasses, although mine are very mild, only for one eye, and really meant to help reduce eye strain when I work.

WAIT A MINUTE.  I COULD GET A MONOCLE.

Anyway, I also managed to get my youngest into the orthodontist – what I meant to be an evaluation and date-setting for future braces turned into a next-day appointment and a face full of metal for my smallest kid. Surprise braces are the best braces.

In the meantime, we’re doing some house renovations that aren’t moving along as quickly as I’d like, but they are moving nonetheless. I’m sort of done with writing checks, signing credit card slips and stuffing my purse full of receipts and appointment slips.

Work has been nutso too – the first part of the year is usually when we kick off big projects and make changes, and I’ve got a lot of really cool projects ahead.  Here’s the thing, I’m a good multi-tasker in one or two areas of my life at any given time, and although I’m really a single-tasker at heart, I’m fine with juggling.  There are so many different things going on both personally and professionally lately that I’m always a few minutes late, a few dollars short and a few phone calls or emails behind where I’d like to be by the end of the day.

It seems like everyone I talk to is flailing a bit this year. I’m accomplishing a ton, and yet I still feel like I’m perpetually behind. I’m going to take this gift of a long weekend and try to get myself aligned – either by pushing harder, or letting go of some of the things I can’t do well right now.

 

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