Elmo and Clifford don't live here anymore. My son outgrew Nick Jr. before Dora was born and long before the Backyardigans moved to town. The Power Rangers have no power here, and whether or not Pikachu has escaped the clutches of Team Rocket is no longer our concern. My kid doesn’t even have time to wonder who the Wonder Pets are. Three-ring-binders filled with Topps baseball cards gather dust bunnies under The Big Comfy Couch, while stacks of Arthur books and Beanie Babies have been relocated to Lazytown. The Daddy Daycare DVD is a coaster. OK, maybe he just put a cup on it because it was there. My son’s TV doesn't even get the Disney Channel anymore.
Where has my world arrived? Right smack in the middle of male adolescence.
You think that stepping on Legos is the only way to permanently injure your foot and curse your way into your child's memory providing future fodder for therapy? Try tumbling over size 13 Nike Shox left in the middle of the laundry room floor. You know, right next to the how-do-they-even-get-that-dirty socks and the shelf that was installed specifically to hold all the shoes?
From Barney to baseball, from N'Sync to Fi-ty Cent to old-is-new-again Led Zepplin, my son has alway s completely immersed himself in what he likes. He's somewhat single-minded, and even perhaps a tad obsessive. When it's baseball season, he walks around with a glove and a ball. Indoors. When it's football season he watches multiple games simultaneously and participates in our inter-state family football pool and fantasy football online. If it's golf then he's putting in the basement when he’s not out with his golf team. If it's Xbox 360 the game lasts for days. ESPN and MTV reign supreme with sports talk shows and spoiled teen reality TV sparring to be first in his nightly line-up…although we have gotten into politics of late as well.
His propensity toward passion and compassion is how he found a niche in high school, stayed connected with great kids, and I think one day will help him find a job he loves and lead a happy adult life. God, it is so hard to type with my fingers crossed.
So, even though I really miss those Fisher Price People and their Farm, I've moved on.
I'm no longer surprised when my son gets dressed, looks at a brand-new shirt and insists it be ironed. I’m also not surprised when he asks me where his jeans are. You know, because the last time I wore them, I must have put them somewhere.
Another thing I know, is that fundamentally, his personality will not change. And I'm glad. Interspersed with the mumbling, eye-rolling, rap-tapping and really-needing-deodorant-three-times-a-day; he's a great, introspective, smart and funny kid who is really good at reaching things on top shelves without standing on a kitchen chair. He did not want to check the traps when Dan the Wildlife was catching raccoons in our yard, but he will pull the dogs apart with his bare hands if they’re in a scuffle.
I've realized that this intensity suits him. It drives him. He’s motivated. He can be helpful, he can be lazy and he hates to do the dishes.
Amy Sue Nathanís debut novel, The Glass Wives, will be published by St. Martinís Press in Spring 2013. In addition to The Imperfect Parent, Amyís stories and essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times online, The Washington Post online, The Huffington Post, Chicago Parent, Grey Sparrow Journal, Rose and Thorn Journal, Scribblers On The Roof, The Verb, Hospital Drive Journal and The Stone Hobo. She is also a freelance fiction editor, a reader for literary agents, and Secretary of the RWA-WF Chapter. In 2011 Amy launched Womenís Fiction Writers, a blog focusing on the authors, business and craft of traditionally published womenís fiction.
Amy lives near Chicago and is the mom of a son in college, a daughter in high school, and two rambunctious rescued dogs. You can follow her on Twitter @AmySueNathan where she tweets about writing, books, parenting, and chocolate.
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