He’s at that age
Over the Christmas holidays, my 17-year old son, Reggie, had been invited over by his friends to their houses for a birthday party, a Christmas party, and a couple of times, to just hang out.
The first one was a birthday party for his friend A who was turning 18. And this was written in small print at the bottom of the invitation:
“I would like to remind certain people that I have some Mennonite blood and just because I’m reaching legal drinking age doesn’t mean I should ignore my heritage.”
I know that was just written in jest. But I still asked him if there would be drinking at the party. And he casually said, “No.” And I believed and trusted him. His friend’s dad was giving him a ride and I told him that he shouldn’t let anybody who had been drinking drive him. I told him to call us if he would ever need a ride home.
And so at around 7:00 p.m., his ride came. When I came downstairs, Reggie has already gone outside and my husband was looking out the window. He said, “ I think that’s your son’s girlfriend.” I thought, what girlfriend? His friend was a girl and got out of the car to come and get him. I knew my husband was just teasing me but the word girlfriend irritated me. “You should have driven him instead,” I snapped at him.
Girlfriend? I wasn’t aware of any girlfriend. I knew he has a friend B, who’s a girl and is also in band who once in a while calls here at home but she’s kind of tomboyish and it doesn’t bother me. But the name of this girl C who picked him up at home sounds like a girlie kind of girl and now that my husband’s calling him a girlfriend, it bothers me. I know that he’s already 17 and there are kids younger than him who’s already dating but I’m not so sure if I’m ready for that yet. I mean, this is my son and to think that he’s gonna have a girlfriend, I don’t know how I would handle that. A few years ago, if my mother would ask him if he has a girlfriend yet, he would answer no and would say that girls are just a distraction. A distraction to his passion in music. But I know that he’s at that age now. And of course, if she is indeed the girlfriend, I’m sure I’d be okay with it. There’s just a tiny pinch in my heart that hurts to let go.
One more thing about these parties: His friends are turning 18, the legal drinking age and he won’t be 18 until next November. So, I’m a little bit worried that he might be tempted to take a few sips of alcohol here and there. I know that parents have different views on letting their kids drink. But I’ve always told my children that drinking‘s not good, along with smoking and taking drugs. I have concerns because my father was an alcoholic and my husband drinks and I’ve seen what alcohol can do to a person if they’ve had too much. I know that drinking in moderation is okay. Reggie hasn’t shown any interest in alcohol yet, none that I have seen. But you know how peer pressure can be. And if he decides to drink, I hope after he’s turned 18, I guess I would just remind him to drink only in moderation.
A few nights after his friend A’s birthday party, his friends D and E came over. After a few minutes, he asked if he could go over to friend D’s house. “Who’s driving?” I asked. “Friend D is. He just got his license today,” he replied. I turned to friend D and asked, “Are you a good driver?” He said, “Yes.” Of course he must be, otherwise, his parents would not have let him drive their car.
Friend D is also 17. Legal driving age here in Manitoba is 16. Reggie hasn’t shown any interest in driving yet. But I’m sure he will soon. And that’s another case of letting go.