My son had a number of tasks to complete this weekend–homework, chores, and some job and summer camp applications. I write a great deal about my son’s foibles, but in all seriousness, he’s all kinds of awesome. He had good intentions and a plan. It was doable. In theory.
My son is also a great procrastinator. Like many teens (and adults, I suppose) he is a creature of the moment. Any time he thinks about working, a shiny fun thing appears on the horizon and his good intentions are dust. This is true even if the shiny fun thing is only watching videos on his iPad until noon while lying in bed. By Sunday morning, he’d completed a whole lot of nothing, which pretty much guaranteed that a great big shiny thing was due to arrive.
His coach sent him a last-minute invitation to play in the league All-Star game. One of the players was ill. He was the alternate. This was his first invitation to play All-Star basketball. He was sure he could do it and still get his work done. We certainly weren’t going to tell him he couldn’t play. We are beyond the point of managing his time for him. He’s almost sixteen. The college of natural consequences is a better teacher than we can be at this point.
I was showering, post-run, when he flopped on my bed and started moaning about the job application and how he had no idea what to say. I wanted to help him, but it was almost time to leave and I had to get dressed. I told him that I would help him later, and he got angry. I reminded him he had two weeks to ask for my help but didn’t. It wasn’t fair to drop it on me at the last minute and then assert that it’s my fault he can’t get his application finished. It would be a late Sunday night.
I had a lot of tasks due this weekend as well. The house was a disaster area. I have a second book that is ready to query, but the letter isn’t done. I have another column due, a week of Momaiku, and a grant application. I have a concert next week, and a pair of dress black pants that need hemming. I have a room full of ironing and an empty refrigerator. Oh, and this blog post.
I had good intentions too. Then I found out a publisher passed on my novel. Disappointment takes a lot of energy. On Saturday, I spent the day with my friends, knowing if I sat at home, I’d only mope. Come Sunday, I was behind. So how angry could I be at the dude? It would be a late Sunday night for both of us.
When I came downstairs after getting dressed, he draped himself over my shoulders.
“I’m mad at myself,” he said.
“I know how that goes,” I replied. He’s so tall, and he’s getting too heavy to hold up.
“I need morale support.”
“I’m here, but if I have to support you any more, we’ll both fall over.”
I told him that the applications had time. He should focus on his homework, and I would help him with his applications this week. He was relieved and grateful. I looked at the clock. Add “late” to the list.
“Dude, we have to go–why aren’t you in your jersey?”
He looked at his feet. “It’s in the dryer. It needed washing.” His last game was two weeks ago. At least he’s consistent.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph by Leo Reynolds © 2012 Creative Commons