Damara Hutchins

I can do it myself

“So here’s the plan: we are going to run into the Gate Station real fast and get a drink and some candy for the movie. And don’t get a drink with a lid or some huge Gatorade; it has to fit in my purse. I’m not spending a fortune on that movie stuff and no, we are not buying popcorn! Got it?”

This was me laying down the law. Finances are tight and taking the kids to a matinee was a treat. They weren’t going to ruin it by whining at the concession stand for some $30 treat package.

The boy is the size of a man, but he’s trapped by the mental capacity of his 13-year-old brain. “I’ll carry my own stuff. I have pockets on these shorts and I’ll stuff the drink in the front. No one will notice it there.”

I looked at him with my “Are you serious?” face. “Son, I have a purse. I can carry it in my purse. Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Mom, I’ll carry my own stuff. It’ll be fine, you’ll see.” Once he gets something set in his mind, there’s no sense in arguing. The only person more stubborn than him is his sister.

We walked into the Gate and while I was trying to get my bearings straight, he headed directly to the soda section. I decided to follow him and make sure he got something an appropriate size. When I got to him, he was shoving a Coke down the front of his shorts.

“What are you doing? Get that out of your shorts now! You look like you’re stealing it.” I nervously looked around to see if anyone was watching.

“MOM! It is cold! It is so cold!” He was bent over like he was trying to pull away from the offending object in his shorts.

“Then take it out! What is wrong with you? I told you I’d put it in my purse. Good Lord, son!” I would’ve yanked it out myself if I didn’t think that would’ve looked horribly inappropriate.

After arguing for several more seconds he took it out. Did he let me carry it into the movies? No. He insisted he could do it. At least, he tried to do it himself. I dropped him off at the door with the cold Coke in his pants, but after I parked the car, he came waddling back out to me saying, “It is obvious! It looks real obvious!”

I spend a great deal of time wondering how he will survive in the real world and I remind myself he is only 13. Just because he’s huge and he picks up his smaller friends and holds them up in the air “Lion King” style, it doesn’t mean he’s grown.

His grades dropped this last 9 weeks of school and Chris and I were beyond disappointed. He managed to squeak by at the end. I talked to my dad about his academic laziness, but I received no comforting words of wisdom, just laughter. “How does it feel, Damara?”

Could I have been this bad? Is this boy really just like me, only bigger? I thought back to my youth and all my stupid ideas and time wasting ventures. Perhaps he is eerily similar.

I guess the only thing we can do is keep forcing him to do homework he may or may not turn in and try not to let him accidentally succumb to his own misadventures. We truly have our work cut out for us.