I'm sure as a parent I'm not alone when I feel surprised and not a little dismayed when I realize I am the Dad of a
teenager. It seems like yesterday that Thomas the Train was his most treasured possession. Now it is cell phones, laptops, and Xbox 360s. And it was only a year ago that I could grab him (playfully) by the scruff of his neck. Yesterday I noticed I was looking up at his neck.
I now get what my friends have been telling me that being a parent to a teenager is "on the job" training. The following are five new realities of my and his new world:
1) Time to Come Clean
How does it work that a child at age ten pretends to take a shower --- water running, door closed. I enter and he is fully dressed hoping that after 10 minutes of hot water running but not getting in the shower, he will be clean. Fast forward three years. There is now a pre and post meal shower protocol. Not only has my hot water bill escalated but who knew towels had to be replaced as often as a box of detergent. I may have finally found use for all those soap on a rope gifts I was given many years ago.
2) The Scent of a Young Man
Thanks to all the commercials geared to making yourself attractive to the opposite sex, my son is very focused on smelling good. Like a lot of teenagers, there is no middle ground or subtlety. I've now learned that AXE body shower coupled with Tropical Wave Old Spice Deodorant is a potent combination. My home smells like a really bad singles nightclub sans smoke.
3) Speaking of Cents
It is a wonder to watch my teenager develop his own style and taste. Sadly, like his Dad, his sense of style greatly exceeds his bank account. Compounding the problem is that he is not done growing and the shelf life of his clothes and shoes is shorter than it takes our firm to complete a search.
4) And the Beat Goes On
It seems like just yesterday that I could ride in the car and chill to the latest U-2 song; at 13 the only thing a teenager can control in a car is the radio. Thus before the door is shut and seatbelt clicked, he is reaching for the radio dial. He doesn't know much U-2 or Coldplay, but I have (through no choice of my own) become a hip hop maven. Drake, Dr. Dre --- I know all the tracks they have laid down. If you really want to punish your teenager, re-think saying "Go to your room." Replace that with "No radio in the car for a week." It will drive them mad (no pun intended).
5) And it is All Passing Too Quickly
It seems like in a flash I've gone from ordering from a kids menu and coloring books to sharing sushi and finding the next best Oyster Po Boy. From teaching him the rules of basketball to debating the first round draft pick of the Houston Rockets (he knows more than I do) to competing with each other on March Madness bracket picks. There are times in one's life when one realizes how special the time is as it is happening --- not in retrospect. Ayars, I am lucky to be your Dad.