Letting Him be a Man

Harrison is 14. I have decided that this age is, undoubtedly, one of life’s most cruel jokes. I teach 8th graders all day, every day. This year it’s seven periods a day of English Composition and English Literature–no Drama classes on my plate. No fear, that hasn’t stopped the drama from unfolding around me.

I recently taught my students¬†Romeo and Juliet. One of the early lessons was on different types of love–unrequited love, romantic, friendship, and love of family honor. After going into great detail with stories of love from my own life (oh, so many stories to share; Jeremy Carter, you second grade heart breaker), my students were anxious to corner me after class and share their own painful experiences.

“Mrs. Tintle,” one particularly dewey eyed student said after getting me alone. “I think I’m experiencing unrequited love!” Little sob, dab dab, sniff sniff.

“Oh sweetheart, do you want to talk about it? That’s so hard to care for someone–”

“No no, I don’t have unrequited love, someone has it for me.”

Life is so hard when you’re in 8th grade.

9th is tougher. My son is at his third school in three years, my fault completely. He lives by the whims of his working mother; where I go, you go also. Here in Las Vegas the public school system is awful. Last year was awesome at our private school, but they moved across town and I couldn’t get the resources I needed for Rex there.

So when I found American Prep Academy it was a game changer. There is a high academic and personal standard here that all students are expected to not only adhere to, but embrace. The problem is, there is a high academic and personal standard that all students are expected to not only adhere to, but embrace. Academics. High. Hard. Standards. First year of High School. No friends. That is Harrison’s life.

I recently learned that the three most traumatic things a person can go through, in order of awfulness, are death of a child, parental divorce, and moving. We all experience one or all of these situations in life, but I sometimes forget that when my kids are miserable or acting out, there might be a reason, and I might be part of it.

This is where Jason and I have landed. Harrison is an amazing person, but the last year we have watched him withdraw from friends, family, sports, everything. He has survived this all with his nose buried in a book. All the moves and schools and new church groups and lost friends. Let’s face it, we have no idea what we’re doing here or how to fix it.

Enter brilliant family counselor. So much we don’t know and so much help available. It’s like these last few weeks we’re starting to see our kid again. He’s playing High School Lacrosse now, he’s let himself make a few friends at school, and best of all is the unexpected group of friends he has landed in our neighborhood from church.

We just…we want our kids to be happy. We all want that. Sometimes, though, we don’t have the power to fix their problems. Having older kids is my favorite part of motherhood to date, but there is so much I don’t know.