Life with Teenagers

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“Mom can we go to the mall now?” My youngest teen has been home only moments and he sits typing away at the computer still wearing his jacket. It’s Sunday. It’s raining. And I’m in my polar bear lime green pajamas with my bowl of popcorn between my legs, lounging on the teen couch, and zoning out into a lifetime channel on-demand movie about Georgia O’Keeffe. Damn, she just left Steiglitz and is on her way to Taos. I sit up on the edge of the couch pretending to unwrap myself from the blankets and start shouting out orders to “Check the website,” “Oh, and make sure you get the hours of the store,” Find out how much this is going to cost” “and if they can do it today” He’s sending her letters- the bastard- and this is where she discovers the desert and the white animal bones. The list of directives would buy me more time with my older teen. I might even be able to finish another half hour of the movie before he would wander back in the darkened room and chastise me about the time. Not with this teen.
“Mom are you dressed? he asks. “They are open until six. It will cost about $25 for both ears. Want me to mapquest the way?”

The last place I want to be, other than the dreaded grocery store, is the mall. But I promised.

He has been texting me pleas for weeks. “This is the only thing I want, mom.” I don’t remind him that the third skateboard is the only thing he wanted. And that was after a bmx bike he is still paying me back for, and that was after two concert tickets to hear death metal bands. And that was after the dew tour. But ok, this is the same kid who mows my girlfriend’s lawn weekly with expert precision, parking the John Deere only inches from the wall in the garage, leaving plenty of room to spare on the side of the jeep. It’s the same kid who scored in the advanced level on his MCAS test for english and math with 100% in algebra, who agreed to stay in the honors math class even though he hates it, who is going to try the leaders group for his brother, even though it could tarnish his dark and brooding skater reputation.
“I’m agreeing to pierced ears only.”
“But mom, I really want the gauges.”

“Why can’t he just dye his hair blue, or pierce his nose, or his eyebrow, or wear all black with studded sneakers? I can deal with that,” I said to my girlfriend on our way out the door of the tattoo parlor only weeks before.
“I think gauges are a pretty cool look actually. But I can understand why you might want him to be a little older first,” she replied smiling.
“You know, your tattoo artist had the best book,” I said, while wrapping my arm around her waist on our walk to the car. “In the other book, I saw pictures of a grown man with a life-size color tattoo of his mother on his torso with the words ‘First my mother, now my friend.’ Now why on earth would anybody want to to do that?”
“Don’t tell your mother that,” she smiled.
“I’m serious. God. And it’s so permanent. Which brings me back to my son. If it just wasn’t so permanent. Do you realize he could have a giant hole in his earlobes and really regret that some day? Do you think I’m overreacting?” I asked her.
“Well, why don’t you let him get his ears pierced first and then see.”

I look over now at my son printing out the mapquest directions to the mall as I walk through the room in search of my shoes. My girlfriend’s moderate sentiments, and my own about the permanence of body disfigurement, are ringing in my ears.

Who am I kidding? I’m never going to get the deep rivulets of purple out of my inner thighs, or the silvery etchings of lines off of my lower belly. I can twist my body in a yoga pose, sweat and strain uphill on a power walk, maybe even eventually sculpt shapely arms and burn off some excess jiggle. But without surgery, I’m also never going to get the girls to stand upright again. No, the lines on my breasts from nursing two babies are indelibly marked. And what of it?

This is my body art. My girlfriend will soon have her black tribal back markings with their special significance only to her. My son may very well stretch his earlobes beyond a respectable pin prick size as a constant reminder of his skateboarding days. And when I pull on a pair of jeans, I will pause for a moment to let my fingertips trace the outline of the deep scars that childbirth left on my body as a permanent gauge of who I am and what is forever important to me.

And with that I pull on my sweatshirt, grab my keys, and look at my son. “Ok, I’m ready now if you are.”

Written by kmguay

September 28, 2009 at 1:54 am

Posted in body art, teenagers

Tagged with , , ,