"I won't use it," he said flatly, with the disaffected air of a teenager.
We were in Costco. During a trip there earlier in the week, I'd spied backpacks and a Camelbak. I took the oldest boy along with me so I could show him the stuff and so that he could pick out his own backpack color, even though I knew he'd pick black (he did). It was the Camelbak, though, that was supposed to be the main attraction.
Nolan's going to band camp next month and while he is going to be someplace cooler, he will be out on the field all day practicing, marching, and I thought (and it was suggested) that the Camelbak would be a good option. Hydration in the summer in AZ is not something to mess around with. And he's...well, he's what the old guys in Westerns would refer to as a "tenderfoot". That boy hasn't seen real physical labor ever, whether it's 75 or 110 degrees. I was just looking out for him.
Judging by his response, perhaps I should stop doing that.
It seems every attempt I make these days to guide him along is met with, at best, a sigh and an eyeroll. I know he's growing up, and would prefer to be left to his own devices. I get that, and for the most part, I rein myself in more often than not.
But it's hard. It's not so out of character, really, to look out for the kids. It's been a part of my life, everyday, for the last 14 years. Surely he could find it in his adolescent heart to cut his mother some slack. Over the years, I padded corners, I locked drawers, covered outlets, and cut up his hotdogs--among myriad other things-- to keep him safe. Sleepless nights spent feeding him and fastidiously changing his diaper (no rashes for my boy) are ready in my memory as I walk by his room at night, doing my last lap of the house before bed. It's just that now, where I used to stand and marvel at chubby, cherubic cheeks, I find myself standing and marveling at cheekbones, lanky, long limbs, and the whisper of a mustache.
During the day, I find myself torn---letting him take his steps away from me while simultaneously fighting the urge to babyproof the world for him as he does it.
When we got home, I told Mr W what had happened, and that my feelings were hurt. And that Nolan's general bad attitude of late and his constant bitching about Ben were pushing me closer to the edge by the minute.
"If he wants to go to camp, ill-prepared, get sunburned, and dehydrated, and have blisters on his feet because he doesn't want to listen to me, then that's fine!" I exclaimed, exasperated and near tears. Mr W pointed out to me that perhaps I should let just that happen. I found myself sputtering, incredulous, at the thought.
(He obviously has not met the Good Mother Police.)
I was pondering his ideas when I overheard him talking to the boys in that tone he uses, the one reserved for affronts to the Mama. It's a 'she's upset, so I'm upset' kind of thing, where he has my back, and I am grateful for it.
Consequently, this week has been better.
And Nolan has learned how to ride his bike to friend's houses within a couple of miles of us....while encased in bubblewrap. :p