Damara Hutchins

Quietly coming of age

"This is the boringest birthday ever! Give me all your stuff. I'm taking your birthday back!" This was yelled by my daughter to her big brother on his 13th birthday, which happened to be on a Thursday. This was also the same day as school orientation for both children so we didn't have major plans. My son didn't want a party. He asked for one thing months ago and that was to go four-wheeling with his dad who has a birthday two days after his. They should be riding in the dirt at this very moment, as a matter of fact. This is no small-time ride either. They got gear. Lots of gear. The outfits look hot and by "hot" I mean it appears that they will be incredibly sweaty very quickly. In the meantime, he opened a few gifts at the house and, to the dismay of my daughter who thinks everything needs to be done her way or not at all, we had a quiet dinner at Red Lobster with their Grandy and Grandpa.
It is strange to be the parent of a teenager. On one hand, he is interested in things I was interested in at his age. I remember "discovering" The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix years after my dad did. My son and I now connect on those levels. On the other hand, we have an "almost" man in the house who can't seem to learn the art of doing dishes. This is a constant battle we never see eye-to-eye on. The other night, all four of us actually got caught up in watching "Rocky V." No, I didn't forget a Roman numeral; that is the fifth Rocky! By the end, we were all quoting Sylvester Stallone. At one point, my husband, Chris, asked, "Are we really watching this? Do you want me to change the channel?" My son and I both shouted, "NO!" I said in a more reasonable voice of someone who couldn't possibly be enthralled with such a subpar movie, "It's just that the fight is about to happen. We have to see the big fight at the end." The same night, "The Warriors" came on and we were transported back to the '70s. My son had a ton of questions about why people dressed the way they did and if gangs really acted like that. We had to explain the fact that it was a movie, but yes, the '70s and '80s did have a problem with fashion. My daughter was highly interested in the gang she referred to as the "Baseball Clowns." She said, "What are they doing with all that make-up on? They need to just take it off." I've been getting a constant barrage of questions on every topic from both of them all summer. From her: "Mommy, where do drinks come from? Like milk and tea and water? I mean, where does it all come from? I know milk comes from cows, but what about the others? And why do we cut down so many trees? We need trees to breathe." From him: "Hey Mom, can I go to the lake? Mom, do you realize the people on your side of the family are kind of thick built? Mom, will you let me drive your car? Well when can I drive it? Will it be mine one day?" I'm thankful they still want to spend time with us and I'll miss this summer, but now that we have an official teenager, who knows what the future holds? damarainsebring@hotmail.com