Kids These Days

I’ve been despairing my son’s sense of responsibility. I’ve yet to get final word from the school but I’m pretty sure he’s flunked his English class this year.


Last summer he finally got his first job at Panera. I say finally because he was almost 17 and digging in his heels to do it his way, which he’s done as long as I’ve known him. Anyway, he enjoyed the work at Panera, for the most part. Nights spent as a dish dog were his least favorite. As the months went on and school started back up, he kept working, but often complained about working Friday and Saturday nights.

“I never get to see my friends!” He told me.

Well, duh, welcome to the work force, I thought, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed.

A month or so later, I noticed he was attending Friday night football games pretty regularly. I questioned him about it.

He told me, “I asked for it off.”

Having spent time managing a restaurant, I may have looked just a bit skeptical.

“What?” He shrugged on his leather jacket, shuffling my writing assignments around on the table as he looked for the car keys. I’d dropped them in the catch-all box on the bookshelf when I cleaned earlier. I’ve only told him about it every day since I bought it.

“Have you seen my-?”

Looking over the rim of my glasses, I silently point at the box.

“Anyway, my manager said he’d cover it.” Fishing his keys out of the box, he was out the door before I could begin to articulate to him my personal teenage work experiences, all of which were grounded in denying myself pleasure.

At fifteen I started working at a local hotel cleaning rooms on the weekends. My mom told me I couldn’t work on Sunday, and I didn’t, for a little while. But as the school year turned to summer and tourist season hit, I turned sixteen and worked every of my available 20 hours. Then I went home and worked every other moment of daylight. I had five younger siblings to watch, meals to cook, laundry to hang on the line, floors to vacuum, beds to make, dishes to do, linoleum to mop, windows to wash, dusting, practice the piano, pick peas, beans, strawberries, raspberries, water the greenhouses, mow the lawn and rows of trees covering 8 acres of land. In short, I had a lot of work to do. As I sweat my way through summer after summer, I swore to myself that one day my life would be different.

Now as a new summer blooms under my bare toes, I’m happy with my prospects. Some time spent with extended family, a road trip, sunshine and lazy days. I’ve scheduled reading, daydreaming, and the perfect time of day to write. I’ve  also scattered in a few trips to the reservoir and a stack of books to read the girls. But before I lose my shoes and join the frivolities of kids these days, I had one more parental thing to do. shutterstock_309845069

I spoke with the school counselor, signed the boy up for a summer English class. He’s found a new job he loves at a local restaurant that has less demanding hours. He has a sweet little project car to sweat over. I’m told it just threw a rod. Joy of joys. porsche_924_front_20071231


0 thoughts on “Kids These Days”

  1. Oy vey! Parenting!

    My 7-year-old says he’s ready to drive. He seems to have this belief that money grows on trees and cars are just there.

    1. Yes, my 17 year old is in a similar mind set. We don’t have the tools or garage space for a complete overhaul and it’s giving him a pain. I feel a bit like a failure.

      1. I think we always want to give our kids the world if we can. It’s almost hard-wired in us until reality hits us with the truth, no garage, no tools. Hopefully, he has a friend with a garage or some tools. Or better, yet an inexpensive repair place.

  2. My 17 (in two months) told us the other day he was going to buy a car. Minimum price $5000. I found it interesting as he has a bank account with just over $200 in it. He refuses to get a real job and still delivers papers. That gives him enough money for pot. And that makes him happy. So I’m actually hoping that he was serious. Might get him off his butt. You must be the oldest child. Your childhood sounds like mine. But your summer sounds infinitely better than mine.

    1. I’m the oldest girl and I have two older brothers, but they mostly worked outside doing the heavy lifting.
      I feel very lucky that my son hasn’t gotten into anything like that, he’s had some good examples of what not to do and where it gets you fast.
      I live for my summers, nowadays!

  3. Difficult time of life for them in some ways still. I always remember how awkward it was being that age

  4. Crumbs I feel old. I remember all the teen troubles (more my son, than my daughter. I’d swear that girl was born 40) Alex sailed through school with average, and sometimes below average grades. By the time he was 16, school was the enemy. The whole education systems sole purpose was to smother his world in redundant ideas, all designed to make him fit the nice square box everyone else (me especially, apparently I ‘luuuuuved’ my particular box) existed in, or that what he told me in one, quite spectacular, row. He did all the stuff, bugger off not telling me where he was for days. Did whatever recreational drugs were about at the time, got very depressing results in GCSE’s (no idea of the equivalent is over there 🙂 sorry) and ended up doing a string of jobs that bored him and paid very little. Till at 28 he decided it was time to go to university, at 28 for God’s sake!
    He’s 35 now and has decided that I’m the one who needs looking after.
    Bloody kids, remind me why we have them?

    1. Well, I’ve got the one that makes me laugh all the time…funny as hell! I like that one more often than not. Then the middle one is just learning to cook and loves doing it, so, I admit I have kinda high hopes for even less time spent in the kitchen.
      Mostly, since my niece, I realize that when it comes down to it, no one loves me like my kids do. Yes they’re demanding, exhausting little money eaters, but honestly, no one else on this planet cares if I get breakfast in bed on my birthday and Mother’s Day, no one else periodically checks in to make absolute sure they still know my favorite color, and for damn sure no one can equally terrorize and thrill with the promise they’re ‘never going to move out and leave you here all alone!’ (Or in your case, come back and set everything to rights-lol)😆
      I rely on you to regularly remind me-they’ll be adults soon and chances are, you’ll like them very, very much. 😉

      1. Well some day I might get to meet them, big sis is still talking about the ‘route 66’ tour 😉 Now there’s something to frighten them with!!!!
        But that is the point, I remember the sleep I lost worrying about their choices. But it wasn’t wasted, it kept me aware of them as people, not just my babies (though of course they still are, even though Lucy is 37 in just over a week!) Yours have a highly imaginative and creative mum in the plus column, that’s about a zillion points in their favour.

        1. OOOOHHHH are we getting close to that??? YAY!
          They’d love to meet you! Yes, my baby will always be my baby no matter what. Poor thing!
          Highly imaginative….they call that hi-strung

      1. Sod that for a game of skittles! Mummy is quite capable, thank you very much! Caty walks away in a indignant huff…
        they were conspiring for one of them to move back after my little ‘drama’. God, no! Lengthy discussions went on, I won, of course.

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