By Becky Andrews
I had a terrible dream last night. You were leaving for a trip. A trip alone. A trip without us; your parents and little brother. We were getting ready to check bags when the attendant asked for your passport. We forgot it. I panic, offering to pay whatever in order to get a “quickie passport” printed at the gate.
*Quickie passports are readily available in dreamland, duh!
While waiting for the life size duck to print your “quickie passport,” I notice the calendar. July 11, 2015. Two days after your 16th birthday. We forgot your passport AND one of the most important birthdays of your life. I woke up gasping, covered in sweat. Which could mean I’ve either had a premenopausal hot flash or that duck was more frightening than I thought. This time I think the sweat meant there’s a few things you need to know before heading out into that big, scary and awesomely unpredictable world. ((This would also be a good time to let you know you will not be going on a trip where you’ll need a passport without your parents anytime soon.))
Because you’re 16 now and know-it-all about pretty much everything-except cleaning your room- I won’t bore you with my little nuggets of wisdom. Instead, I’d like tell you what you’ve taught me since that warm July afternoon 192 months ago.
- The torture of sleep deprivation is forgotten the moment your 10 day-old finally learns to latch on OR when a teenager gives you a hug for no reason.
- You really load the dishwasher better than anyone I know, including myself. If I could only get you to wipe the counters!
- Taking photos with live animals is a bit overrated and potentially harmful to the animal.
- One can never watch or hear Toy Story too many times. I’ll go ahead and add Monsters, Inc., Cars, Lilo and Stitch, Homeward Bound and Finding Nemo too.
- Uncomfortable conversations must be had. One day, I promise you will be glad your dad and I have talked to you about everything. I also promise that these conversations are just as uncomfortable for us.
- I’M GLAD TWITTER, SNAPCHAT AND INSTAGRAM DIDN’T EXIST WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE!!! However, Social media has made it easier for you to tell on yourself so I’m glad it’s around now!
- It’s normal for a 16 year-old boy to think his mom is uncool.
- Kids remember moments (vacations, tickets to a cool concert, an expensive improv class), more vividly than things (the newest iPhone, designer sunglasses)
- Kids will rat you out…in front of people.
- Alzheimer’s can be funny even when it’s not. Like that day I was feeling particularly low about Papa and you said, “Did I tell you that he told me that you and Aunt Christy were a**holes when you were my age? Then he said, ‘don’t be an a**hole, Jacob. Your mother can beat you at that game. Just like we beat your mother at that when she was your age.’ He said I could tell you.”
- Adults dressed as Santa, the Easter Bunny, Captain America, etc. are creepy.
- It’s imperative that you learn some lessons the hard way.
- You didn’t cause the stretchmarks. Ben and Jerry did.
- When it comes to the character of adults, always trust the instincts of a three year old.
- You can’t be friends with your teenager. Because they can be assholes. Eventually we will be friends. Lucky you.
- There is a God. Believe me or Him, rather.
So Happy Birthday to my firstborn. Thank you for EVERYTHING…even the stretchmarks.