I had a moment with my son this morning, a sweet moment with a tinge of bitter because we have a season rapidly coming to a close and I cannot for the lie of me fit all of the things in that I desperately want to.
He graduates high school this year, and in a few short months it will all be over. Two kids, eight consecutive years in high school, 16 music nights, a probably that many band competitions and I’m feeling a bit like I’m the one who deserves a diploma. I am fiercely proud of my two, now pretty much adult children. They are warm and kind and funny, and do a pretty good job of taking the serious things seriously, and navigating the rest in a healthy way. But I am biased right? Doesn’t matter, I love them to bits and like who they’ve grown into, if they weren’t my kids I’d want them to be my friends because they are great people.
So my eldest is 80% out of the nest, capable and competent woman that she is, but my son I get for a wee bit longer and this mama is squeezing every last teachable moment and happy memory out of this whole parenting thing. For better or for worse, even if he thinks I’m super lame.
So every morning for the last eight years I’ve done the school drop off, my daughter for her four years and then my son for his fur. Car rides, for those of you who haven’t had the delight of raising tweets and teens is the best time to have conversation (not an argument), you are both looking ahead so eye contact is not required when it’s an awkward topic, and the vehicle is moving and nobody can leave. For us it became a great time to talk about the personal things, discuss new ideas and work out problems. Unfortunately now that it’s almost over I’m really really good at these conversations, but I hope that neither of them hold my less spectacular moments against me. Like when my daughter asked when she’d be old enough to date (correct answer is 30, ha!) and I panicked (freaked out because I wasn’t ready) and told her everything I knew about STIs, which is a lot since I’m in health care, and her meek response at the end was “I just wanted to go to the movies”.
I’ve had some great drives with my son, and some not so great ones. Some days were tense becaue one or both of us were tired/hormonal/hangry, while others were silent because sometimes silence is golden, but by far the best have been this past year when technology and pending adulthood combined. Sometime over the past summer my son seemed to finish adolescent angst and what remains is this fascinating guy. He had a job flipping burgers, cleaned some toilets, and learned about customer service, aka reality check for the real world. Now, he knows what he wants to do and does his best to get there with minimal guidance from us which is the way it’s supposed to be in the grand circle of life and here’s to hoping he’s not living in our basement when he’s thirty.
On one of our kind of tense moments I decided I wanted to have a good start to the day and instead of contributing to what was a negative discussion, I put a podcast on and we listened to someone else talk and it completely diffused the situation. Ever since then, if we don’t have lots to talk about, we put on a podcast. I’ve shamelessly introduced him to some of my favourite leadership podcasts, some on faith, some on social justice and anything randomly interesting that day. We’ve also spent a huge amount of time on Spotify sharing music, which all started when I mentioned George Michael and he didn’t know who that was. “I’ve failed as a parent! Open Spotify and look him up”
Good boy that he is, he indulges me and since then we’ve covered all of the important 80’s pop, cringeworthy hits from my highschool years, and what I’ve deemed as all of the important anti establishment hippie anthems that are need to know. We’ve done back to back covers of a single song to see who sang it best (Bruce Cockburn or Barenaked Ladies singing Lover’s in a Dangerous Time), discussed why Joshua Tree was definitive and remains a timeless classic, and how Frank Sinatra will always be cool
Today for whatever reason we were discussing surviving the apocalypse post nuclear war, to which I explained you either want to be at ground zero, or gather your stuff and head north because Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Upper New York will all be hit and there’s nowhere to go. So I swear it wasn’t as depressing as it sounds, but it did lead to a discussion about how that was normal thinking while I was growing up, we lived in a nuclear age, and that lead to my insistence that we listen to Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire, which was followed by a quiet drive while listening to lyrics that are sadly completely relevant again, and a bittersweet moment when I realized that it is a privilege to have these moments. Where I can share a bit of who I am and how I’m wired with my son in hopes that he sees me as more than mom, but hopefully someone interesting and funny and wise.
Graduation is coming, but I’m going to make the most of every last moment, every last random tune, and every last shared experience.