My 16-year-old son has a girlfriend, going on six months now and going strong. She’s terrific and so is her family. They seem locked at the hip and they’ve even managed to avoid the common mistake of “first love” by maintaining their existing friends and not drooling over each other ad nauseum.
However, they are holding hands all the time and even when I knock on my son’s door before entering, they’re often on his bed together, clearly enjoying each other’s company.
When does being friendly cross over to being flirty? Can a married man ever be “friendly” with another woman without it being potentially misinterpreted or, worse, being hurtful, dishonest, or even non-sexually unfaithful to his wife? I struggle with this, given my out-going nature and my wife’s somewhat reserved nature.
As my kids get older, each touching corny moment (and I mean “touching” literally, as well as figuratively) becomes more and more fleeting. As I have two boys, the amount of kissing and hugging is reduced to the point of pretty much shaking hands, and with my younger son (13), an occasional hug and air peck on the cheek. At least my (3) dogs still give me affection (and, my wife, of course – if I didn’t say that I’d be in the “dog-house”).
BUT, I had one of those “at this age” unusual and rare sappy parenting moments with my young teen when he and I went to see AVATAR. It was Saturday night so we thought getting there an hour early would be time enough to get tickets for the 7:00 p.m. show. Nope, sold out. So, we got them for the 8:00 p.m. show and went for dinner.
So, I had a little ski accident that I’ve already written about in “Just A Guy Overcoming His Fear.” The only residual damage I’ve had is that I keep getting fatter and I can’t lose the weight I gained from the period in which I had to be relatively sedentary! I then went back to my usual routine of working out and couldn’t bloody lose the extra 15 pounds! What gives?
This past Winter Break I ended up with some alone time as my wife and younger son went to Japan and my older one, 16, stayed home to be with his friends and his girlfriend. I went alone to the mountains to ski. I used to be able to bring my dog, Simon, but the place where I stay has begun enforcing archaic HOA rules forbidding dogs of guests. So, instead of a warm, furry body next to me, I had the cold sheets and my wandering mind for company.
I had a fight with my mature teen. I acted like a teen and he acted like an adult. I pouted. He was reasonable. I was yelling. He was calm. I hate when that happens!
It all had to do with expectations and desires, on my part, for my mature teen son to want to hang out with his dad. Our family was apart this holiday season as my wife and younger son went to Japan and Hong Kong.
Last ski season, I fear I had a pretty bad accident. I like to go in the half-pipe and on my 13th time, on Memorial Day, I dropped in and the next thing I remember is waking up in the ski sled/gurney with a ski patrolman putting fingers in front of my face and asking “how many?”
My memory slowly returned, but I never remembered the accident itself. I had dislocated my shoulder, downward, breaking two bones and I’d gotten a concussion, with bleeding on the brain according to the CT scan and a later MRI.
I went skiing this Winter Break and had a wonderful time. However, I couldn’t get over the hypocrisy I often witnessed with parents and their kids. For every parent I saw wearing a helmet and skiing or boarding with their kids, I saw another not wearing a helmet, demonstrating the classic case of “Do what I say, not what I do.”
This made me CRAZY. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I’ve been wearing a helmet for years. Like seat belts, it is truly going to be ubiquitous some day but, for now, it’s an optional accessory to many skiers and snowboarders. Excuse me!? How many people need to get paralyzed or killed before the average parent “gets it?”