Parenting

Teaching Your Children to be Money Smart

I feel like we’ve done something right in the parenting department when it comes to money matters. I feel like our boys are frugal with their money and Blake is downright cheap. In fact, he’s so cheap, he won’t even buy himself food or water; he lives on Ramen noodles, not exactly the most nutritious dinners for a mid-twenties something man.

And Brandon is careful with his money, but is more willing to freely spend it on things he feels will benefit him. For example, he just bought a yearly subscription to some 3D software package/classes that he’s super interested in and hopes to make a career out of someday. He laid down quite the pretty penny but he’s excited about it and it warms my heart that he’s thinking about his future.

I do wish we had made the boys “work” more when they were in school, though. In essence, their “job” was to do well in school. I wish I had made them do more chores around the house and/or work for the things they wanted as opposed to just holding off until getting what they wanted for their birthdays and Christmas.

“Don’t give them an allowance for essentially breathing. ” I laughed out loud when she said that part in the video. I have ALWAYS thought giving an allowance was not a good idea and I ALWAYS told the boys that if they wanted something they would have to get jobs, earn the money and then buy it. (Hence the reason they waited around for their birthdays and holidays to get what they wanted).

Though I feel like we taught them about the importance of money, I feel like we could have done a better job at guiding them on HOW to make money and HOW to save it. Yes, the boys have money saved up, yes, they are careful on what they spend it on, but we still need to do a better job of guiding them on  investing it and/or putting their funds into something that will grow and benefit them when they get to be our age.

I hope this video gave you food for thought about the lessons you’re teaching your children about money. Being smart money stewards is another responsibility we have as parents to help our children succeed in life.

Life, Parenting

Meeting Internet Friends

meeting-internet-friend

So here’s the thing, meeting people online, forming friendships/relationships, is not as weird or uncommon as it used to be.

Speaking as an older person, (ahem), I really can’t imagine doing that nowadays though I’m certainly not against it – in fact, back in the day when I used to read a lot of mommy blogs, I seriously thought I would attend some blog conferences and thought it would be fun to meet some of the people I had been reading online in real life.

I never did it though because ultimately, I didn’t care enough to follow through. I was curious, not serious.

But our boys, who have grown up online and who can’t imagine life without the Internet, are a different breed. It’s now the norm to meet friends online, in chat rooms, in forums, or recognize screen names from games.

I can’t confirm this, but I think that both boys, at one point or another, had online girlfriends though they never met them, to my knowledge.

I can always tell when Blake gets attached to someone online. His mood is happy, uplifting, he jokes around and laughs a lot.

And then I can always tell when something happens online, whether someone has disappointed him, or made him angry, or he has lost a friendship/relationship because he falls into a deep depression. He mopes around and sleeps A LOT. It always concerns me a bit when he sleeps so much – I know that’s his way of trying to get away from whatever is upsetting him. But I suppose we all have our ways of coping with unpleasant things.

Brandon is not like that. He doesn’t internalize as much as Blake does. When someone disappoints him, he just gets angry. I can’t imagine where he gets that trait from.

Brandon has a lot of online friends. In fact, he met one the other day and I found this out when I saw his friend’s post on Facebook.

The guy that Brandon met comments on his Facebook account. And I don’t know, I always assumed the guy was someone that Brandon went to school with. It never dawned on me that he was an online friend. When I saw the post on Facebook of Brandon meeting this friend, I was shocked.

I asked Brandon about the meet up when he and Blake came over for Sunday dinner. He said this friend was traveling back from Texas with his parents when they decided to stop in our hometown and meet Brandon. They met at a restaurant. Brandon said his parents even bought him dinner, which I thought was terribly nice of them to do.

Brandon and this guy have been online friends for about 6 years. After I got over my initial shock, I then freaked out a bit. I mean,  you hear all sorts of horror stories about weird people impersonating kids, or serial killers stalking their next victims and well … you just pray that never happens to your kids. But I guess they can Skype each other now and they can see it’s not an old man in his 60’s sitting around in his underwear.

(But they could always hire a kid, I guess).

Brandon also bought tickets to go to Vegas in October. By himself. He is going to some Final Fantasy conference and he’s meeting up with some online friends there, too. In fact, the latest word is, they are all going in on renting a condo for several days. Bran is supposed to be coming over this next week so we can help him book a flight. And I definitely have more questions about this condo, where it is, how much it costs, etc.

I know what you’re thinking – FREAK OUT MOMMA MOMENT. However, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, NO WAY ARE YOU GOING TO VEGAS. But on the other hand, he’s 21 and if he’s willing to venture out on his own, well, I can’t stop him. In fact, I’m sort of proud of him for biting the bullet and stepping out of his comfort zone. Nearly all of Kevin’s sisters’ kids have traveled the world, in fact, one of my nieces is in Spain right now living with missionaries for the summer, I think my kid can handle going to Vegas.

I’m trying very hard to be cool about this. I would rather he come to me and tell me these things than hide them from me. At least if he talks to me, I can help him prepare for the trip and give him advice on how to be safe while there.

Blake is talking about going to Japan to meet a friend next year. I have no idea if he’ll ever do it but he’s been thinking about doing this for a few years now. (I wonder if that was why he was interested in taking Japanese class in high school – it all makes sense now!)

Of course, we would help him plan. He already has a passport (which reminds me, we need to renew Brandon’s passport. His expired at five years instead of the ten for me, Kevin and Blake, because Brandon was too young to qualify for a ten-year passport at the time). I’m pretty sure I’ll be way more freaked out with Blake going to Japan.

As in, OUT OF THE COUNTRY, PEOPLE.

But we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

We are also working on setting the boys up for a credit card. All they have now are debit cards and well, we all know how risky debit cards are. Besides, they need to start building credit and now is a good time to start.

I’m betting, if the girlfriend thing ever happens for either of our sons, it will be through the Internet. And in a lot of ways, I think it’s better that way. At least that way, they can focus more on her personality as opposed to the physical side of things.

Like it or not, online relationships are real and they are happening, whether we approve of it or not. We might as well get on board.

Parenting, Politics

Whose Fault Is It? Yours, Most Likely. Own It.

School-cartoon

It’s amazing how things have changed over the years, especially in the realm of education.

Once upon a time, there was this magical concept called personal responsibility and students were expected to do their homework, study, work hard, and get good grades.

When a student doesn’t do their job or work hard to get good grades it’s the teacher’s fault, not the kid’s incredibly flabby work ethic.

This lack of personal responsibility is why we have a future generation of self-entitled knuckleheads making a career out of being on welfare.

This applies to adults, too.

Parenting

Epic Motivation

My favorite line, “the only thing holding you back is YOU.”

Yep. I concur.

So Brandon has finally gotten sick to death of his dishwashing gig. He comes home every day smelling like overripe food, nearly soaked from head-to-toe and did I mention that he’s allergic to the dishwashing soap they use? His arms look like a week-old heroin addict.

It’s not pretty.

In addition to the physical discomfort, he’s not getting breaks OR lunches, which honestly, I’m not sure how his employer is getting away with that – isn’t that against labor laws or something?

Anyway, he’s been doing this job for about 8 months now and he has finally decided he’s had enough. He’s been talking about quitting for about 6 months now (he has always hated this job), but was never motivated to DO anything about it, until recently.

We were sitting down to dinner the other night and when I called him to dinner, he said he couldn’t right at that moment because he was filling out an application for a popular retail store.

That’s when I knew he finally met business.

The store called him this morning to set up an interview. (Did I mention that his restaurant called him and hired him all within one week of him putting in his application at the place? He has scary luck with filling out applications, though there was a period of time he tried a few months back and didn’t get any bites and sort of gave up. But I’ve always had pretty good luck with filling out applications and getting interviews right away, too. Not sure what our secret is … other than WE’RE AWESOME! ha!)

He is interviewing for an overnight position. Granted, not ideal, but it will get his foot in the door and he’ll make $1.00 more an hour for the inconvenience. His interview is at 11:00 p.m. with the night manager this upcoming Tuesday.

I PRAY HE GETS IT! Not only will it be a better job overall, he’ll meet more people, he’ll get a discount on household items (more on that in a minute), and he’ll be able to transfer to a more cushy day shift at some point.

If he ends up working overnights, it’ll be quite an adjustment. We had a pretty good talk about how he’ll have to discipline himself to sleep whenever he gets off work, even if he doesn’t feel like it. And if he takes any classes in the fall, he’ll have to take early morning classes so he can just go to class as soon as he gets off in the morning.

AND maybe, at some point, he can put in a good word for Blake and Blake can work there on the weekends to make more money, give him something do on the weekends and to hopefully meet people and make friends. (I.E. GIRLFRIEND?!?)

So yes, I’ll be praying that he gets this job as I think it’ll be a really good move for him. He indicated he was willing to work full, or part-time on his application, so if he gets on full time, then we can get him on their insurance and take him off my insurance, thereby saving myself a little money, too. (Now if we can only figure out how to get Blake off my insurance. Because you know, he can only be on my insurance for another five years before he’ll HAVE to get his own insurance.)

And now back to the discount on household items perk …

We’ve been SERIOUSLY talking to the boys about moving out into their own apartment. It’s time. It’ll be a HUGE reality wake up call for them. Kevin has been taking Blake around to area apartment complexes and they have been going to their websites to get an idea of how much it’s going to cost. Then, they’ve been breaking down budgets and talking money to see if they can realistically make this happen. He can’t on his own but if both Blake and Brandon move out and split the cost, they can. (Though it’s going to be tight – hence another reason we’re encouraging this – to motivate them to either work more, and/or get better jobs that pay more).

We found an apartment complex literally down the road from us. This complex is within walking distance of a grocery store, a Chinese restaurant (Blake’s favorite food), Walgreens, Price Cutter, a coffee shop, and Sonic. WIN-WIN. They could even walk to our house if their cars broke down. AND, this apartment complex allows pets, which is something Blake is DYING to get – a Corgi. He LOVES those dogs, for some reason. The catch? If they want a pet, they have to pay $300 bucks UP FRONT, and then it’s an extra $25 per month. So though they can’t afford the pet right now, it’s an option at some point in the future.

That REALLY warmed Blake up to the idea.

I think the boys just assumed, when we first started talking about them moving out a few years ago, that they would move out and we would simply write them off. “Have a nice life!”

Um, no. They will be welcomed to come over and eat with us, they can bring their laundry over, they would still have keys to our house … again, when we explained all of that to them, they were both pretty excited about the prospect of being their own men … sort of.

Baby steps.

And if Brandon gets this retail store job, then he will get discounts on household items – furniture, cleaning products, etc.

Brandon really perked up when I mentioned that.

And to sweeten the pot … though I’m not sure how I feel about this option …

They pretty much grew up with the boy next door. The boy next door doesn’t live next door, but his grandparents do. So he would come over pretty regularly whenever he stopped by to visit them.

His grandparents are moving today (which is another story … should we buy their house as another investment? The big answer is NO for now, not sure we want to dig ourselves into that hole) and this boy is over there today “helping” them move, though he’s been over here most of the day catching up with the boys.

The thing is, this boy comes from a broken home. His mother is … an interesting and thoroughly messed up character. She’s nice enough, but she’s been a TERRIBLE example to her son. And Kevin has sort of taken it upon himself to be his surrogate father, since his real father died when he was three. (He’s almost 23 now). This poor boy has had a lot of drama in his life. His newest drama is – he just signed a year’s lease on an apartment with his long-time girlfriend. Only, for some reason, she isn’t ready to get serious with him and wants to go out and party with her friends. This boy, (Let’s call him Cory), doesn’t want her doing that. He’s ready to get semi-serious and to focus on building a relationship. I’m not sure if this girl is on drugs or what, but she’s suddenly abusive. She pushed Cory though a window. (Granted, we’re only hearing one side of the story – so we always take what he tells us with a grain of salt. NO ONE can be that unlucky with life … surely?)

It’s gotten so bad, he’s filed a restraining order against her and goes to court in a few weeks to finalize.

His girlfriend has kicked him out of the apartment. So now, he’s trying to figure out how to get his name off the lease HE JUST SIGNED.

When he found out the boys were talking about getting an apartment, he perked right up. It’s possible he may end up moving in with them. Which … I have mixed feelings about. He has a really good job, he’s a mechanic at a car dealership (he’s super good with cars) and he makes pretty good money. So, he could afford to move out with them. And he’s a good kid when he’s with us – I think he enjoys being in a stable, NORMAL family atmosphere, so I think Blake and Brandon would be a good influence on him … the question is, what sort of influence would he be on Blake and Brandon?

Drama seems to follow this kid around. And I’m SURE we’re not getting the whole story whenever he tells us about the crazy things that go in his life. So I’m SURE he would bring an element of crazy into Blake and Brandon’s lives …

But honestly, maybe they need a little crazy. One, to toughen them up. Life is hard and their lives haven’t been hard up to this point. And two, they need to learn to live a little and I think Cory would definitely introduce them to some fun. (Hopefully, LEGAL fun). And maybe he would teach them some confidence so they will make friends and even meet girls … (providing they are the right type of girls … but they won’t be able to distinguish the right ones from the “wrong” ones until they live a little).

So .. I ‘m nervous about the prospect of this happening, but I think, ultimately, it could be a win-win for all of them. Cory has practically been a part of our family since the boys were toddlers, so we could take him under our wing and hopefully teach him to make better choices in life. (As long as we didn’t have to deal too much with his messed-up mother. She both disgusts me and scares me, if you want the God’s honest truth).

But I look at this as an opportunity to do some good and possibly have a positive impact on Cory’s life.

We’ll see where this goes. We’re in the talking stages right now. The boys both have nice nest eggs saved up, so that they have something to fall back on if/when something comes up. Honestly, I think it’ll be a fun, teachable experience whenever it’s time to start shopping for furniture and kitchen items for their apartment.

The boys both have good heads on their shoulders and they really are good people, so now it’s up to us to (gently) push them out into the real world and trust that we’ve done our jobs.

Day-By-Day, Parenting

Just a Little Case of Food Poisoning … I Think

puked So I get a text at work yesterday,

“Brandon is puking.”

My first thought was … “And?”

Brandon is a puker. (Is puker a word? It is now!). I think Brandon has puked more than any of us COMBINED. He has a weak stomach. Or a hyper-sensitive reflux action thing-a-ma-jig … I remember when Brandon was little and coughed at the dinner table, he would puke. And not just when he was little, sometimes he does it now, too. Though he’s better about holding it in his mouth.

(EW!)

Any sort of gag reflex, like shoving the toothbrush too far into his mouth, he would puke.

Brandon should have a t-shirt made with the slogan, “Beware – I puke.”

I called Kevin to find out what was going on and as per usual, because he’s a man, he downplayed the puking episode and advised me to stop by the store on the way home from work and buy some ginger ale.

Done.

When I got home and walked into Brandon’s room, I knew this puking episode was different.

He was lying in bed with nothing but his basketball shorts on. His skin was clammy and he was as pale as a ghost. His hair was wet from sweat and he was cuddling a mixing bowl to his chest to catch his puke. He had a bathroom towel and a wet hand towel close by. And the grossest part? The mixing bowl was pretty full.

*gag*

When I tried to ask him questions, he just grunted and kept complaining of feeling dizzy. In fact, he couldn’t walk to the restroom, across the hall, because he was so dizzy.

I’ll be honest, the dizzy part worried me the most. I don’t ever recall him feeling so dizzy that he couldn’t walk.

He puked, off and on, for HOURS. I finally got him to take a sip of ginger ale and take a few bites of toast without it coming right back up. Once that happened, I took a chance and gave him a Tylenol so he could try and get rid of his crazy headache that I’m sure was contributing to his nausea. He finally settled down enough that he stopped puking and I felt it was okay to stop hovering so he could get some sleep.

He tried to call into work this morning, (he was supposed to work an 8:30 to 3:00 shift today), but when he spoke to his manager, the manager said he couldn’t call in sick without a doctor’s note.

!!!???

Now. I don’t know about you, but we don’t go to the doctor – ever. In fact, none of us even have a primary care physician because, well, WE NEVER NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR. So the fact that his manager was asking him to get a doctor’s note, well, it wasn’t going to happen because we don’t run to the doctor for every little sniffle or if we’re feeling nauseous.

I was pretty furious but tried not to show it. Though he wasn’t puking this morning, he was still pale and nauseous. So the mom part of me wanted to advise Brandon to tell his boss to go F himself, but the more rational, been-a-manager-once-in-my-lifetime-and-worked-with-kids-his-age knew where he was coming from. I’m sure his employer has kids call in sick all the time that aren’t really sick so I could understand why he said that to Brandon.

So I was sort of stuck. This was a teachable moment and though I’ve always told the kids to never call in sick unless they were dying, I’m not completely heartless – he was truly sick. And he’s never called in sick since he’s worked there and has always worked the extra shifts whenever they’ve asked him so I thought his manager made a poor managerial decision considering his work history. But that’s neither here nor there.

I left it up to him. I said, “It’s your choice. I can’t make it for you. And you’re not a kid anymore, you’re your own man, so mommy can’t call in to work for you. You can tough it out and go to work, or stay home, against the advice of your manager and hope you don’t get fired. It’s your call.”

He went to work.

And then promptly came back home three hours later.

He was opening with his assistant manager and when his manager got to work and saw how pale Brandon was and how he wasn’t acting like his happy-go-lucky-easy-going self, he sent him home.

At least now his employer will know that when he calls in sick, he truly is sick and will hopefully take his word for it next time.

And I also made sure to caution Brandon not to abuse that employer-employee trust in the future.

I know it sucks to be sick but how many of us have gone to work feeling like warm death?

Exactly.

When I worked at Wal-Mart, I was feeling so bad that I finally grabbed a Wal-Mart bag, tucked myself into a corner of the office (I worked in the cash office at the time and I wanted to get out of camera range), puked my guts out and into that bag, then calmly walked that bag to the restroom, dumped it and went right back to work. *snap* Damn straight.

And recently, I must have ate something bad for breakfast because by mid-morning, I was having little throw-up-in-my-mouth episodes until I finally cried uncle and went home. I puked, felt better and felt so guilty that there were still three hours left in the work day, I WENT BACK TO WORK and finished my shift. *snap* Damn straight. I felt better. And I had work to do.

Everyone was pretty astonished to see me and I’m sure I made some people pretty uncomfortable because I was sort of setting a bad precedent for everyone else, but that’s my work ethic. If I ever leave work, or stay off work, THEN IT’S TIME TO READ MY WILL BECAUSE I’M DYING. (Actually, we don’t have a will yet but Kevin and I have been talking about putting one together – soon).

Anyway – I spent the day washing every one’s bedding. I started with Brandon’s (and won’t even tell you how nasty his sheets were since he lost his cookies on his bed at the very beginning of his sickness) and figured, what the hey, might as well wash everyone’s duvets, too.

He seems to be okay now. We had fried cod for dinner, (Kevin made it – he’s an AWESOME cook) and Bran ate his fair share so I think we’re back to normal. I have no idea what he ate that caused his food poisoning … the only thing he ate was (frozen) waffles for breakfast and then an almost entire bag of Cheetos.

We’re thinking it was the Cheetos since they had been in the pantry for a very long time. Then again, so had the waffles … so, we’re still stumped as to the cause.

I’m just glad he’s feeling well … life can resume again.

Dear Diary, Parenting

Dear Diary: A Father’s Connection

Dear Diary:

All he ever wanted was to connect with them.

When we found out we were going to have sons, Kevin did what most fathers do: he fantasized about doing guy things with his sons someday. He would teach them things, he would grow close to them, he would have little buddies to hang out with.

That hasn’t really happened. Oh sure. Our sons love their father (probably more than me since he’s so much more rational with them than I am and plus – I’m a girl), but I don’t think Kevin feels like they are as close as he would like them to be. It’s taken him years to really find common ground with them. Kevin is a fix-it sort of personality. He enjoys challenges. He likes puzzles. He takes a hold of a problem and doesn’t let go until he figures it out and then conquers it.

I call him my bulldog because he simply doesn’t let anything go. (Which, on one hand, is a good trait to have because stubborn people are generally more successful simply because they don’t give up. But on the other hand, you have to learn when to quit because after you’ve reached a certain point, that point where you know in your heart it’s not going to work, it just becomes a waste of time and life is too short to beat dead horses).

But our boys aren’t interested in the same things as Kevin – not really. They could care less how to monkey rig a problem, or make something last longer than it was intended to last. They don’t care about creative maintenance solutions – they would rather just go out and buy something new than figure out what the problem is.

(They come by that mentality honestly. *ahem*)

They aren’t fascinated with problems or problem solving. (Kevin is an accountant and enjoys figuring out logical solutions to messy presentations).

They could care less about cars.

Or cooking.

Or music. (Though Jazz does love his saxophone, he’s not really interested in the type of music that Kevin loves – grungy guitar rock-type songs).

They don’t give a rat’s behind about yard work. Or house maintenance. (Though they should and will whenever they get to the homeowners stage one day).

Our sons are spoiled, entitled and have never really had a tough day in their life. And we take total blame for that. We molded them. We protected them. And they will have a rude awakening one day, I’m sure.

Reality is not all about rainbows and unicorns. Am I right?

So, when the boys saved up enough money to upgrade their computers (they both work with Kevin and Kevin pays them minimum wage and swears that he couldn’t run his business without them because he’s getting more and more clients) and bought customized parts to build bigger and better gaming computers and asked for Kevin’s advice on what to buy and then spent hours in the kitchen together putting those parts back together again, Kevin was in absolute heaven.

Finally. He found common ground. Finally. He found something they were all interested in and could bond over together.

He was happy. He told me he was happy. His actions spelled happiness. And it warmed my heart to see all three of them grow that much closer.

I have reached a point in motherhood where I am no longer inside their world: I’m outside looking in. It’s a weird position to be in considering I was one of those helicopter moms who wouldn’t allow their boys to say “BOO” unless I gave them permission to say “BOO.” In some ways, I miss those days. I miss my little boys who looked to me for guidance and relied on me to take care of them.

But mostly, I glad those days are over. I’m ready for them to take the reins of their lives and ride their choices into the sunset. I’m ready for them to meet adulthood without me hovering in the background. I will always be there for them if they need me, but I no longer wish to be the first person who they turn to if they have problems.

They are no longer boys, they are men. And they need their father now more than ever to teach them HOW to become men. It’s Kevin’s turn to take the parental reins and though one small part of me is sad, most of me is fascinated by the changes I see almost on a daily basis. I find myself in an interesting situation now: I’m the parent on the other side of the looking glass now. Though my job as their mother will never be complete, I think I’ve played my last mothering card – we’re using a new deck now and it’s Kevin’s turn to deal them a new hand.

It warms my heart to see Kevin so happy to take over. He eagerly took on that responsibility yesterday when he helped Jazz put his newly built computer back together again and their father/son conversation left me feeling warm, safe and secure inside – they are both in such good hands. Kevin is an excellent father – I couldn’t have prayed for a better father to my sons. He’s patient, kind, and considerate. He openly tells them he loves them, and is not embarrassed about the admission.

I think Kevin has solidified that father/son connection he craved.

Life, Parenting

Someone in My Family is Now An Organ Donor

I was sitting here, watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” (I’m embarrassed to admit that I watch A LOT of TV since starting this job – who has the mental energy to read a book nowadays?? Not me!!) and something from the show reminded me of something I wanted to blog about …

Someone in my family is now an organ donor.

And it’s not Kevin.

Nor me.

Who does that leave?

I KNOW!

Since I’ve been working, I haven’t spent that much time with my boys. On the surface, this sounds like a bad thing, however, it’s actually not. Because you see, I’ve mother-henned my kids TO DEATH. So much so, that if I didn’t do something, they would grow up to be pansy-ass excuses for men.

Let’s be honest.

And I’ll admit, that was a big deciding factor to my GETTING a job, quite frankly. Because I figured if I wasn’t around then the boys would be FORCED to grow up.

I have to admit, I’m beginning to think that theory is paying off.

*Side note: I also got a job because A. I was bored staying home. B. I wanted to start financially contributing to the family again. And C. Kevin didn’t think I’d really do it. He said the same thing when I got my job at Wal-Mart, too. Silly husband. Don’t EVER doubt me when I have my “serious” face on. I’d link to my serious face, but it’s just too scary to share, actually.

My working has been especially good for Dude. He’s had to do a lot, by himself, without mommy holding his hand. He opened up a checking account. He is taking care of my Amazon book store. He taxis his little brother all over town. He’s going to college three times a week.

And he got his driver’s license renewed – ALL BY HIMSELF.

I gave him a brief overview of what to expect and said, “you have until March 25th to get it done. Bye.”

I wondered if he would do it. I suggested that maybe Kevin needed to take him and “just show him what to do the first time.”

But Dude refused Kevin’s help. He picked out a day that Kevin and I were busy and he got it done. By himself.

And I saw the renewed license to prove it.

He even paid for it with his own money.

I know this may not sound like a big deal to most of you, but we’re talking about the son who is afraid of his own shadow. The son who would rather crawl under a rock than talk to you. The son who would duck into a dark alley to avoid making eye contact you. He’s timid, shy and very, very interoverted, though I’m not so sure about that last part anymore. He really seems to be growing up and it took removing me from the equation for that to happen.

I’ll try and not take offense to that.

But honestly, I was so proud of him!! And I told him, in a very understated, “cool mom” sort of way. But inside I was screaming with excitement! Maybe now, NOW, finally, my son would finally grow up.

He was proud to show me his new license. He was also proud to show me that he’s now an organ donor.

And that part shocked the hell out of me. This is the son who nearly barfs when he finds a hair in his food.

And he’s going to donate his organs?!?

I was immediately proud and ashamed at the same time. I was proud of him for doing something so GROWN UP. And kind. And generous. And GIVING.

And I was ashamed of myself because I am not an organ donor. And neither is Kevin. Though we’ve both talked about it several times – we’ve just never done anything about it.

My oldest son taught me something – it’s time to put my convictions where my mouth is. I’ve been standing up to this flu shot fiasco, it’s time to sign on the dotted line and be an organ donor.

I wish I could relay to you how HUGE this organ donor thing is to Dude. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought the boy, excuse me, THE MAN, would be capable of making that decision. This is the son who is deathly afraid of heights, of flying and roller coasters.

And has voluntarily become an organ donor.

But you want to know a secret? Though I’m surprised he’s taken this first step toward adulthood, I was sort of expecting it. Because even though I gave birth to this boy, raised him, drilled him so hard on spelling words that he cried and begged me to stop his entire second and third grade of school, and for all the talk of “knowing him,” I’m not sure I do. Not really.

I have a feeling my first born is just getting started and I can’t WAIT to see what else he’s capable of.