Excuse Me? Confessions of a Teenage Son.

Yesterday my kid was sick and clearly delirious. I say that because when I went in to check on him after he'd spent many hours in bed staring at the underside of his top bunk (which no one has slept in for years, owing to the precious and un-throw-away-able cargo stowed upon it. Cargo like the home-built radio antenna from his 7th grade science fair project, the load-bearing toothpick bridge from Webelos, the three vintage 1970's record players he's going to rebuild–someday–, the yearbooks, dance pictures, and 2-liter bottle rocket from first term Physics), he rolled his eyes over to me and said,

"You know, I never once threw my back out in elementary school when I did double back flips off the swing and landed on my stomach."

*cricket*

Wha?

I should clarify that our elementary school playground used to be covered in a thick layer of cut up tires, which made it quite a soft landing pad. Nevertheless,

Wha?

"What do you mean, double back flips OFF THE SWING? Not to mention, NEVER ONCE? This was a common occurrence? Landing on your stomach on the ground after flipping through the air fifteen feet up, having first sling-shot yourself from the swingset? Where, pray tell, was the recess monitor?"

"Oh, she would tell us to stop, but we knew she didn't mean it. She was cool."

"Ah. I am so glad she was cool. Heaven forbid she was uncool and reduced your risk of paralysis to zero."

I was about to say more when the kid stuck his hands behind his head, crossed his feet, and wriggled deeper into his mattress to get cozy. As though I was Father Janiel and he was in a horizontal confession-booth.

"It was exciting. Like when I snuck out through my window at night and walked around the neighborhood."

*blink*

"You . . . snuck out? At night? Without telling me?"

*stare back*

"Hence the term 'snuck.'"

My world dropped out from beneath my feet. "I . . . had no idea. I thought . . . I trusted . . ." I floundered.

Not satisfied to leave me in a state of shock, my son proceeded to regale me with tales of practical jokes, trips to the principal's office, and in one case, the smooshing death of an innocent garden slug. With a shovel.

WHO IS THIS CHILD? More important, IT'S HIS FATHER'S GENES WAVING THEIR BEHAVIORAL CHROMOSOMES ABOUT, NOT MINE."

And probably I should consider, DID I GIVE BIRTH TO A WINDOW-SNEAKING, STOMACH-LANDING, CLASSMATE-SCARING, SLUG-BEATING PSYCHOPATH?

Yep.

Except for the "psychopath" part.

See, earlier today I heard him tell his little brother to speak respectfully to me. Which sounds a whole lot like the beginnings of reformation to my ears.

Thank heavens. It was getting expensive setting up those rat-traps outside his bedroom window.

Now I just have to make sure no one tells him about how I used to sneak out of my window when I was grounded for life, shimmy down the holly tree (which, ouch! Stabby, pokey things, holly trees), and dash to my friend's house, where we would make Barbie-Bombs out of my dumb knock-off dolls and ambush the boy's GI Joe maneuvers.

Yeah. Totally my husband's genes.


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About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.

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