I arrived at Target right at 8 am, ready to take on the world with my supply lists and my red plastic shopping cart. There was even a twinkle in my eye. And--get this--I hadn't even had coffee. Something about early morning shopping at Target just does something to a girl. And as I shoved my cart down the aisles (with one wheel inevitably out of alignment and repetitively--and loudly--clicking and clacking) I started to realize that this was Zack's last year before high school. HIGH. SCHOOL.
Thinking about his final days in middle school, and thinking about Ryan being in the thick of it, scared me a little. It may seem funny to keep stopping to take notice of it here, but I can assure you, it's no where near as funny as bearing witness to it in the flesh.
Silly, the way he grew 4 inches over night. Ridiculous, the length of his arms and legs. Hilarious, that I can now barely recognize his voice, which doesn't seem to quite match up to the voice in the thousands of memories I have stored on file. It's all new and strange. And absolutely absurd.
I smiled to myself as the heaping displays of composition books and highlighters beckoned me. Then, without warning, a certain hint of desperation pulled the smile from my face with a heavy tug. Wait, what do I want to highlight? What are the points I need to emphasize to him? Is he ready? Is he prepared? Have I prepared him? Where's MY supply list so that I can neatly check off everything I'm supposed to tell him before he leaves all traces of boyhood behind? What wisdom do I pass on?
After surrendering to Target more than was comfortable for school supplies, I started to think back on all of the conversations I've had with Zack about life and learning, and I started feeling better. Really, I think I'm okay. I think he's got it, for the most part. But, like with most kids his age, repetition is key. So I started to put together a list--short and sweet--that I want to reiterate. And it absolutely MUST be short and sweet, or else it'll feel too much like a seminar, and I'll lose him. Teenage attention spans are tricky.
So, after thinking about what I really want to impart, and keeping in mind this is just for now...relevant to this time in his life, I developed this list:
1. Be responsible
2. Be accountable
3. Read everything
4. Be deliberate with your time
5. Don't be a douchebag (and don't associate with douchebags)
That's better. Now I can exhale. Mission accomplished.
I could expand on each of these points and come up with a hundred others to develop a detailed and eloquently written piece, but for a 13 yo to get the nuts and bolts, this pretty much sums it up. Bare bones, this will emphasize all of the things I have already taught him and will remind him and direct him to be purposeful in all he does. And above all, to NOT be a douchebag.
He may now leave boyhood behind.