Sometimes my mouth gets me in trouble with my kids especially now that they are both teens. I’m learning to read their cues and choose my words carefully rather than say the first thing that comes to mind. It’s harder than it sounds especially when they give me such good material to work with. Like last weekend. When I picked my son up from his friend’s house he got in the car and said, “I’m gonna need new clothes.” That’s it. He’s very matter of fact. There was no explanation, just “I’m gonna need new clothes.” He’s fourteen and doesn’t say a lot anyway. It was late so I said, “Ok.” Then it occurred to me to ask why. Did the boys say something to him? Had styles suddenly changed? Why now? My imagination was running wild. Then he told me he hit a stop rock in the road while skateboarding, flipped over and scraped up his leg, elbow and wrecked his favorite shorts. Ah, I thought. That’s why he needs new clothes. He ruined his favorite shorts. Buying clothes for him is always an emergency. He hates shopping so he’ll wait until it doesn’t fit or it’s ripped or stained before he’ll say anything. Then he wants it right then, that moment. So, instead of pointing out that this is not an emergency and can wait until tomorrow I simply say, “Ok. We’ll go tomorrow.”
When we arrived at the store he said, “I think I need to get a pair of jeans.” What? Jeans? He hasn’t worn jeans or pants since we moved to California 13 months ago. If I even mention pants he starts in on how it isn’t cold enough here and he’s never cold anyway. I’d given up asking. I really wanted to say this to him, but I noticed he was trying to be cool about it so I decided I would try to be cool about it. My husband and I started looking through the racks and we found him a pair of khaki colored skater pants. This is apparently pretty cool. My son said, “Yeah, I’ve wanted this kind of pant for a while now.” Really? He hasn’t said anything about it to us. I wanted to point this out too, but instead my husband and I shared a look and didn’t say what we were both thinking.
He went in to try them on and came out wearing the pants and the biggest smile. Clearly, he loved them, but what he said was, “Yeah, these are good.” I wanted to say, “Really? Because your face says you love them.” Instead, I was trying to be cool about it so I said, “Great” and smiled at my husband.
I started to declare victory that I’d made it through without any snarky comments and then I noticed that only one of the pants was denim that will protect him from road rash next time he comes across a stop rock. I had a choice to make. I could point it out or I could just let him enjoy his new clothes.
We left the store with two pair of pants, three pair of shorts and one happy kid. Victory was mine!