Go ahead and mark March 16, 2009 at 8:24 a.m. on the calendar.
That is the day one 9 year-old boy became officially in charge of getting his own dang self ready and to school in the morning.
It’s a little earlier than planned, but today is the day one snip of the apron strings was made toward sending one (stubborn) little boy off into the world as a self-sufficient (and likely still obstinate) man.
Just like his father.
? ? ?
My son Logan, like his father, doesn’t like to be late and isn’t a big fan of change.
As per our morning school day ritual, Logan likes it when a little past 7 a.m. I come into his room to wake him with sing-songy sweetness. I then help him select his clothes for the day, find out what he wants for breakfast, make his breakfast, remind him to quit bugging his sister and get moving, make his lunch (exactly the same thing every day of the year) and then drive him and Whitney to their walking-distance school so he can be there by 8:15 a.m. (15 minutes before school starts) giving him a full morning recess to play.
But recently, Logan’s been complaining that I’ve been waking him up too late (played one too many games of electronic Yahtzee while taking my morning tinkle).
He hasn’t been happy with what I’ve picked out for him to wear (long sleeves are too hot, those pants feel funny, wants to wear his green soccer jersey AGAIN).
He gets upset with his lackadaisical sister when she is .07 seconds late in putting on her shoes keeping him from getting to school in time to play (although I think she does drag her feet just to get a rise out of him).
And he doesn’t want to ride his bike to school because his recess-sabotaging sister can’t keep up with his impatient pace and he might miss two minutes of recess.
Usually when Logan gets all huffy about being “late” for school I try to patiently point out he had never been late for school on my watch. He might miss a few minutes of before-school recess, but that wasn’t the end of the world now was it?
Or I would try to provide a life lesson in time management. “Maybe next time you shouldn’t watch TV while eating breakfast, or try getting your homework together the night before, or how about quit bugging your sister while you’re brushing your teeth?”
Sometimes I would fight his negativism with my optimism trying to make his sullen mood look silly. “Is this how you want to start this glorious, sunny day with the birds singing, your mother looking like a fox in her workout gear, and Thin Mint cookies waiting in your lunch for you?”
Now all this could be signs that he’s ready to venture out and be afforded a little more responsibility and independence, but when no one’s lifted a finger to help the ol’ Mom-moo in this morning routine, one might think that someone is just being a bit ungrateful.
So today, when Logan opened his mouth to gripe again about me and Whitney making him “late” – Mommy blew a gasket. I decided instead of gently pulling the rug of self-sufficiency gently from underneath him onto the floor of independence that sucker was now going to get yanked right out from under him onto the hardwood of the real world.
“You know what buddy? Tomorrow you’re on your own!” I yelled into the rear view mirror as I dodged other responsible children walking to school whose parents hadn’t waited too long to set them on the road to independence. “We’ll set your alarm tonight and you can get yourself up. Then you can get yourself ready, make your own breakfast and lunch and you can hop on your bike and get yourself to school. I’m done! Then we’ll see how you do getting yourself to school on time with time to play!”
As I pulled away after drop-off, my yelling still ringing in their ears, but with a kiss on their cheek and a standard wish for a good day, I thought, That’ll show him what it takes to get ready and be on time in the morning.
Then, as I looked down at myself in my tattered old monkey pj’s unprepared for the gym because I hadn’t gotten up early enough to get myself ready, the winds of change whispered a new sobering thought in my ears.
Or he might just show you.