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Diary Entry #2: Raising Young Boys Always an Adventure

by Lucky Garvin

I gave son Cailan some money some months ago.  I shouldn’ta done it; puts him under too much pressure.  We were in Colorado.  Erin, his sister, my daughter, wanted to take a walk.  She wanted to take Cailan.  Cailan with sovereigns in his belt.  I don’t think she’ll make that mistake again.

The problem, plainly put, is that the weight of bullion in my son’s pocket is like the effect of a full moon on a Were-wolf. Certain fundamental psychic alterations ensue. “You won’t make it one block,” I predicted.

Meeting this character defamation head on, steadied with purpose and the slightest wildness in his eyes, he answered, “Will too.”

They made it out the door of the hotel; I was stunned. They almost made it to the corner.  There is but one store between the hotel and the corner.

“We better go in here and see if they have anything I need.”

“But Cailan,” she answered, “This is a beauty salon!”  Moving into the store, he answered, “Ya never know.”

My son, he’s right free with hard coin.

“Branches don’t grow on trees, son, you’ve got to spend your money wisely,” I tell him, preparing him for adulthood.  But like all lessons we strive to pass on to progeny, I don’t know if it will take.

One day Cailan had to pick up his room. Seven minutes into the job he was singing, “…nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…” in a tortured pre-adolescent baritone. I wasn’t aware he knew the song.  Probably learned it from a class mate asked to bring in the newspaper from the front porch.

I had offered him a dollar to clean his room.  He found that a resistible sum; but took it after he saw the ante wasn’t going to be raised. I told him that straightening his room wasn’t as bad as having polyps on the neck; he just grunted.

Raised in a house of horrors, that one. Just ask him.

But when there are love problems to be solved, I find my advice is not listened to.  Both sons Cailan and Chester seek instead the council of my son John, who at age 18 crowds the air above him with `where it’s at-ness.’  Me?  I don’t mind getting older.  I do mind the age-related depletion of cool.  Might have to have a middle-age crisis again; have to hurry though, before I get too old to qualify.

I call Cailan and Chester – and their friends – “Sir” or “Young Sir.”  Their friends, not used to such formality, think it eccentric of me but are puzzled by the fact that they nevertheless enjoy this respect.  “Why does he call us that?” a friend asked Chester.  “He’s in the National Guard, so they say that stuff all the time.”

Mom, can I go out on a date with Sally?” Chester asked his mom, Sabrina.  Not wanting to be the bad guy, all the while convinced that eleven-years-old is a tad-bit early for dating, Sabrina decided to sand-bag the issue.  “It’s ok with me if it’s ok with Sally’s parents.”  In the practice of medicine, we call this a `slough.’

It wasn’t ok with Sabrina at all.

She felt certain the girl’s parents would kill the deal; then they would take the fall.

They said `OK.’

She made heavy weather of their laxity. “What kind of irresponsible parents would let their kids go out on a date at this age!?” she raged to me later, their flawed parenting never more obvious than when they said, `It’s alright with us if it’s alright with Chester’s mom.’ “That’s the trouble with the world today!”

“You’ve put your finger on it, dear. I’ll notify the United Nations.”

“Passive people!  Parents who cannot take a stand!” she spewed.

“Be the ruin of us yet.”

“With that kind of parenting, a kid could grow up to be a… a … a …”

“Unitarian?” I offered helpfully.

 

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