When the universe bestowed upon me a super-kind boy, I worried other kids might be inclined to take advantage of his gentle nature – with any future daughter-in-law making me so crazy in her treatment of his kindnesses with negative diatribes, I would have to spend my golden years living in Europe so I wouldn’t be forced to kill her.
These felt like real concerns – after all, redhead is in my gene pool of crazy.
That is until Testosterone came to live with me and my son Brian . . . in our very tiny home.
Before Testosterone showed up on the doorstep, carrying bags of angst, soda, arguments and chips, Brian and me had this sweet mother-son relationship, where I would ask him to do something, and by God and miracles, he would get right up and do it. It was such a lovely life of me ordering Brian around like a parent, and Brian responding like the coolest, best kid ever, by actually listening and doing what I ordered.
It was a great life.
Other parents envied me, as they half-mockingly said things like, “Wow, Brian is such a sweet boy. You are so lucky.”
You call it luck?
I’d half-smile and think, why that is just great parenting on my part thank you very much. I mean, I might have slept with men no better than a termite, but I sure do know how to raise a perfectly, great kid – thank you – thank you – please leave all gifts of admiration at my doorstep. I’ll be here 18 years. If you have any questions, just ask. Thank you. Thank you.
It’s amazing how pride over your perfect children can regurgitate like projectile vomit when kids reach their teenage years, college years or their divorcing years. Because you see, there are no perfect kids, and if you are foolish enough to think that you have raised some, then you just haven’t seen the photographic evidence of the time they tried marijuana, had unprotected sex, vomited in strange night club toilets and lied to get what they wanted.
Yes – they did.
In my case the shift from perfect boy to teenager happened when Testosterone inquired about moving in and hanging with my son. He promised to help my son grow taller, deepen his voice, get more than 3 hairs under his armpits, and have him showering twice a day so that he always looks good.
It sounded great to me.
I mean, why not?
Other (lesser) parents have lived with Testosterone and survived.
This is me here. Catherine the great. I am, after all Irish, and we come from a long lineage of women who successfully used guilt and God to get what we wanted.
Testosterone – bring it on!
However, Testosterone didn’t bother to mention the war movies he’d bring, the football gear on the floor, the war and football video games he’d buy or the sudden shift in Brian’s attitude to resemble San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman – when Merriman is on the field.
Nor did he mention the fact that the television in our house would permanently bounce from Comedy Central to ESPN, and if I dare mention Lifetime for women, my son and his new best friend Testosterone will look at me like I have just asked them to dawn hot pink shirts with matching pink tennis shoes, and attend a three hour church service with grandma, followed by tea served on fine china and small talk of embroidery.
Excuse me but the last time I looked I am still writing all the checks here.
If you don’t hear anything here - this would be the sound of a teenager tuning you out. Testosterone teaches this too. I hear Estrogen can do the same with girls – combined with a lot of door slamming – but since I was blessed by the Gods and Irish good fortune not to be raising terrorists teenage girls, I can’t answer for Estrogen.
Well maybe the menopause version, but I hear it’s waaaaaaay milder than the teenage-girl version.
Where was I?
Oh yeah – Testosterone has also taught my former perfectly sweet son to say things like -
“NO – WHY?”
“I almost hit him.”
“I shoved him.”
“What the hell?”
“I creamed him when I tackled him. It was great.”
If I put on 6 inch heels I can stand taller than his 15 year old self and yell down at him, but I have to do this near a wall for support, because the last time I wore a decent high heel was when I actually thought dating was important and the idea of cleaning up after another man was worth the sex.
I have recovered from those delusional thoughts thank you.
Testosterone has also taught Brian how to interrupt me mid-sentence, because he is convinced what I am telling him has no merit in this decade due to the fact that it is coming from someone born before 1995, and God-forbid we ancient folk might know what we are talking about, since they think anyone over the age of 30 was friends with Abraham Lincoln.
These are the times I am quite sure smoke blows out my ears and nose while one foot scrapes the ground.
It doesn’t seem to deter him.
Wise parents who have experience with Testosterone tell me they settle down in about a year.
A Y E A R?
Well . . . one solace is that every time they make me mad enough to blow smoke, Testosterone and my son are forced to to the dishes – or vacuum – or fold the laundry.
Or I make them walk to the store and back for milk and butter
At this rate I could end up with the cleanest home in the history of California.
Or 32 gallons of milk.
And 40 pounds of butter.
Well, I suppose it could be worse. I could be raising a teenage girl too.
Did you hear that?
It was me – screaming at the thought of it.
Until next time -