You’re Never Too Old

Remember when you were a teenager and had things happen that were so horrible, so embarrassing, that they become long-term bedtime pillow suffocation incidents? I have learned that those events do not magically end once you reach voting age.

Jason and Harry (almost 18) came home from a hiking trip a few weeks ago with a stomach bug–the kind that sends you routinely sprinting to the nearest toilet. Saturday morning the bathrooms were overtaken by whiny men, with much shuffling-sprinting-shuffling from toilet to toilet. Around eleven, I heard Jason moan up the stairs to Harrison. “Hey buddy, get your stuff ready, you have a lacrosse game in an hour!”

“Um, sweetheart,” I said (sweetheart is code in our marriage for “hey stupid head”), “He’s got di-uh-ree-uh. I’m pretty sure running around a field isn’t the best choice right now.”

Ron Swanson glanced at me with his sweaty, pallid, manly face. “Honey, all he needs is a little fresh air and sunshine and he’ll be just fine.” He gripped his stomach and leaned on the stair railing. “Just let him try to play, don’t baby him, he’s a man…SON, YOU WANT TO PLAY, RIGHT?”

Pause. Pause. Pause. Bedroom door creaking open. “Huh?”

“The game,” Swanson says, “You want to go play your lacrosse game, right? You’re fine, bud, you’ve got this!”

“I…guess. Sure.” Door closes.

An hour later Harry had reluctantly left for his game and I was putting on my shoes. “Honey, let’s go!” I yelled up the stairs.

“You go ahead,” I hear, “I’m just going to take a quick power nap…let me know if he decides to play.”

When I got to the park and saw that my manly son was out on the field running around, despite his crappy condition, I called his power-napping father. “Get over here, and bring him an extra change of clothes just in case.”

“Oh? He’s playing then?”

“Oh, he’s playing all right, get down here and watch him.”

After the game Harry was in his car, about to head home. Before leaving, Jason and I hurried over to his car window.

“Baby!” I said to Harry, then jokingly, “I’m so proud of you, did you poop your pants? Daddy brought you clean clothes–“

“Mom!” he gave me a death glare. I realized he must be feeling pretty rotten to miss how funny I was being.

“What? It’s okay, everybody poops. Like in that book we used to read. Do you need new undies?”

“Mom, I’ll see you at home.” He put his car in gear and gave us a warning look. We shrugged, chalked it up to grumpy-sick-teen-syndrome and headed to our respective vehicles.
Later that night Harrison and I were in the kitchen. We joke a lot, we laugh a lot, we have a great relationship. “Mom,” he said, “You realize that today was possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life, right?”

“Huh? How so? Did you poop your pants?!”

“No. But when you came up to my car window and asked me, the car parked right next to me, behind you, was full of high school girls with their windows down. They heard our entire conversation.”

I could have melted in shame and horror.

You’re never too old.