My middle son is going through a phase which I am calling his “asshole phase.” Please, hear me out on this. He is a smart, social, funny and athletic kid and I love him dearly, but he is having a very difficult time understanding that “with great power comes great responsibility.” As a parent who remembers high school as a time of not necessarily applying myself, I am empathetic to a certain extent, but when I consider the advantages he has compared to what was available to me, my indulgence of his laziness starts to dry up. Time to figure it out, my friend.
Possessing the myriad of gifts and advantages he has, yet not using them, has prevented him from fully participating in sports this spring. This should be his third year playing lacrosse, but instead of suiting up and getting on the field, he’s sitting on the bench because of academic probation. I am so appreciative of the fact that there are academic requirements for extracurricular participation. It prevents me from dropping the hammer and once again being the “bad cop.”
Today is the last day of his freshman year’s third academic quarter and he has failed to submit his outstanding work for the past 10 weeks of school. Looks like he’ll continue to be a bench warmer rather than an active participant in his chosen spring sport. C’est la vie. It hurts my heart to see him not achieving all he is capable of, but at least I don’t have to worry about him getting hurt physically, right?
As the middle guy struggles with time management and fulfilling the expectations and responsibilities which come from growing up, my little guy is taking steps away from me. This morning, as I parked my car to walk him into school, I noticed his friend walking down the block, solo. I pointed out his buddy and asked Quinn if he wanted to walk into school with just his friend. He quickly said yes and happily joined his classmate for an independent “big guys” walk to school.
I got back in my car, pleased that I would be uncharacteristically early for work. Before I turned the key, though, I took a moment to watch my baby walking away from me and felt a squeeze around my heart. He’s growing up soo fast! I paused, thinking about how parenthood at times feels like a series of nearly physical exertions – sometimes we push from behind, other times pull from ahead. As I drove away from the curb I glanced over at Quinn at the same moment he turned back to look at me. We both smiled.