Friday, August 9, 2013

And. Just like that - He's 19

A blog post from nine years ago:

We were at Chapters on Saturday night, just browsing. 
Max, Zac and Drew took off for the Humour Section, while I hung out in the gift-ware area. 
Half hour later, I find the boys trying out a product. It’s a heart shaped answer box. You ask it a yes or no question, shake the heart, then it glows red as it verbally replies to your query. 

I walk up behind them unnoticed and listen to them discuss the future with this gimmicky device. 
“Will mom find true love again?” Max asks. 

Is that normal? 
Shouldn’t they be wondering about the Canuck’s season? Or the escalating price of gas? Or whether the weapons of mass destruction will ever be uncovered? Or if Brittany will really marry that Kevin guy? 
Its just not right that they are wasting precious enlightened answers on questions regarding my love life. 

In church on Sunday, I tried to encourage Drew to go to “Jr. Church” with all the other kids that left half way through the service. He wasn’t having none of that. They changed the program and he noticed that his two favourite male teachers weren’t heading out, so neither was he. 
“I’ll be good” he promised. 
“I just want to be with you.” He added. 
I would have rather he left. After all, the kids service is geared for kids. The regular service would be ‘over his head’. I doubted he’d even listen. But I wasn’t up for a huge whisper fight in the middle of the aisle, so I let him stay. 
He settled in and started to doodle on the back of the bulletin. 
The pastor starts preaching and is very passionate about the new theme he’ll be teaching on this fall, “The Church on the Move”. 
Drew snaps his head up and reads the overhead. 
“Oh. Move.” 
“What?” I ask 
“Church on the MOVE. I thought he said we were going to be a church on the MOON.Now that would have been something.” 
I started to laugh, so I ducked my head. 
He broke out in a giggle too. 
It took a few minutes for the smirking to end. 
“Good thing I didn’t go to Jr. Church, hey mom? We wouldn’t have been able to share that funny moment. That was special.” He reached over and squeezed my hand. 

Don’t know why Max thinks I need more. I’ve got all the true love a woman could want.

From Oct 2004:

Drew clipped his own fingernails tonight. 
I saw Clint snuggling (kissing his girl) this afternoon. 
And Max spent the evening delivering flyers because he said he would. 

All three of them took a maturity step forward today. I hate it when they gang up on me like that. It would be easier to process if they did it one at a time. 

“Next step is puberty, right mom?” Drew asks with a grin. He can hardly wait. 
“I like it.” Clint says with a smile (re: the kissing/snuggling).
“We said we’d hand them out. So I’ll go do it.” Max decides with determination. 

2004 was a great blogging year:

Every afternoon, for roughly an hour, between 2:30 and 3:30, I am in the company of 5 young men. Three 14 year olds and two 10 year olds. 
“Man, I had this awful dream once.” Jon shares with Nate and Max. “I was some place where there were lots of other people and I had on only my underwear. I kept trying to find something to cover myself with. It was scary. I didn’t want anyone to see me. I kept pulling stuff over myself, but I never got covered.” 
He’s earnest and serious as he talks about his dream. 
“Dude. I can’t believe I once had a dream like that too!” Max exclaims, astonished by the coincidence that him and Jon would both have similar nightmares. “What are the chances?” 
“So man, what was yours?” Jon asks. 
“I was like, in the cafeteria, and it felt cold. I was standing in line. Like, waiting for my turn to order. And I looked down. Holy crap. Dude. I had no clothes on.” 
“No way.” 
“Way. I didn’t know what to do. No clothes on! Couldn’t find nothing to put over myself. I kept looking down and I was naked, man.” 
“That’s so like my dream. Freaky.” 
“I had a dream last night too.” I offer. 
“In my dream, Ben Affleck was the hiring manager for Campus Crusade. He was conducting my interview. After unrestrained mutual flirting, he asked me to join him in Africa as a missionary.” 
“Whadya say to him, mom?” Max asked. 
“Heck ya. His God was my God, his people were my people. I’d follow him to the ends of the earth.” 
“Hmmm” came from the backseat. 
“But, somehow, I worked out a deal that I’d be back every afternoon for carpooling.” 
“Man, even in your fantasies you’re a slave to the schedule, eh Mrs. O.” 

What an insightful, intelligent observation. These boys are a wonder. A pleasure to chauffeur. 

We pulled into the elementary school and slowed down just enough for Matt and Drew to hop in. With the sun shining, the music playing and the afternoon ahead of them, they were all in bubbly moods. Crossing in front of us, was a gym teacher carrying a net-bag full of glossy blue rubber bouncy balls. 
“Hey! Nice balls!” one of them yells from the backseat as the others all burst with uproarious laughter. 
“Nice balls…heh heh… oh man….” 
“Nice balls. Dude – that’s so funny…” 
“That was perfect. SO funny.” 
“Man. I can’t believe how funny I am. Nice balls. Man.” 

What an immature, retarded comment. These boys are normal. A joy to transport. 

This pic, above, was taken in Nov 2004 - a big day for Drew:

A turning point, again. Today. We permanently removed his floating bath toys out of my tub. No more GI Joe raft, Taiga Speed Boat or Batman action figures. He's going to have showers from now on. And, on top of that, he asked to have the hall light turned off... and (sob) he unplugged his night light. "And", Drew said: "If I have two kids I'm going to name them Stanley and Hobbes." 

The night before I started my job at Arrow:

Sunday night I was in bed by 11:30pm determined to fall asleep immediately, regardless of the number of laps my circling thoughts were doing in my head. 
“Mom?” Drew whispers. “I can’t sleep.” 
“Do you wanna snuggle in with me?” 
“Can I?” 
“Yes. But you havta fall asleep right away…” 
He runs back to his room to get his fan, his glass of water, his favourite pillow. He settles in right beside me and wants to talk. 
“Is it OK if I ask you a few questions?” 
Knowing he will not fall asleep with questions burning in his mind, I said, “OK. Just a few.” 
“What happens if I get sick? If you have a job, who will look after me?” 
“I will. I’ll tell them I have to stay with you. But let’s try and stay real healthy for the next couple of weeks, OK?” 
“Can you scratch my back?” 
While I’m lazily scratching, he asks, “If we get a really big bill, and we don’t have the money to pay for it, will we go on welfare?” 
“No. We won’t.” 
“Will nan and bups pay it for us?” 
"No, I’ve arranged to borrow money from the bank.” 
“The bank? How can you pay that back? What happens if you die? Then me and my brothers have to pay them back?” 
“I will pay it back. Every month a little bit will get paid off. I’m not dying.” 
My arm is tired so I’ve stopped scratching, and I’ve rolled over onto my other side. 
“Mom? Can’t you turn this way? I like to see you face.” 
I heave myself back onto my right side and he interlocks his fingers with mine. 
“The hairs are starting to grow back, aren’t they?” he observes as he touches my forearm. “Is your chin still all bumpy?” 
“No, it’s getting better. Can you go to sleep now?” 
“Mom? What are you going to do at your job tomorrow? Can I ever come and see you there? What happens if Mrs. Rubuliak is late in the morning? Are you going to go to work and leave me home by myself? What time are you going to pick me up after school? Everything’s going to be different, isn’t it?” 
Clearly he was no where near falling asleep… his mind was on overdrive, just like mine. Even though his eyes are wide open, he is quiet for awhile. 
“Wow. That must’ve been, like 10 minutes. Don’t think I’ve ever prayed that long before.” 
Finally, at 1:00 am he drifts off sharing my pillow and snuggled up close, leaving me to obsess by myself. 

At 1:30am Max wanders in. “Mom? You still awake?” 
“Oh yeah.” 
“Do you have any Tums?” 
“Have you slept yet?” 
"No. Can’t.” 
We both go into my bathroom, chatting while we look for some antacids. 
He heads back to his room, and as I slip back into my ridiculously creaky bed, Drew wakes. “What did Max want? Is he OK? Is he worried too?” 
“He’s fine, go back to sleep.” 
“Are you driving Clint to school?” 
“Not now. I’ll do in a few hours. Maybe after we’ve all slept.” 
“Don’t leave me home by myself. Make sure you wake me up and take me along.” 
“OK. G’nite.” 

I lay there for another hour. Worrying. Praying. Wishing I were different. Wanting a man to take this financial burden off my shoulders. Hoping I can somehow be a decent mom as well as a worthy employee. 

I must have fallen asleep around 3:00, cuz Drew woke me up. 
“Mom? Maybe you should roll over the other way. You are starting to snore.” 

Despite the short night, I made it to work on time. And managed to stay awake for my entire shift. 

I was at the Middle School on time to pick up my three favourite 14 years olds. 
“Mom? How’d it go?” 
“Yeah, Mrs. O – how was it?” 
“Intense. Overwhelming. My head is aching. So much information was stuffed into this noggin today…” 
"Welcome to my world.” Max says. “Every day teachers try to fill up my brain. Sometimes it’s just too much.” 

I get to the elementary school at my usual time. Drew races over to the truck. “Mom! How was it? Good? Did you like it?” 
“Imagine this Drew. It’s your first day of school and you’re nervous about your new teacher, your classmates, the routines, your schedule and stuff. The principal takes you into his office, sits you down and tells you his expectations. You know your colours, shapes, numbers to 10 and most of the alphabet. He tells you that by the time you leave the elementary school, you have to know how to read chapter books, prepare essays in handwriting, do long division, make a science fair project, have the multiplication tables memorized and be a lunch room monitor. That’s what it felt like today.” 
“Sooooo. It was good?” 
“Uh. I think tomorrow will be better.” 

I’m a forty three year old kindergarten student. At the end of day one, I know where the bathroom, the lunchroom and my desk are. I met the other new kid. I watched a video, talked to the principal, my teacher, and some of the intermediate students. 
And I was given my assignment. 

I am scared.

On Tuesday night I found him in my room, on my bed, writing something. 
"You should be sleeping, sweets. What're you up to?" 
"Making my Christmas lists." 
"Oh. That's a good idea. Nan was wondering what you wanted. But, really hon, you need to go to bed." 
"No, this list isn't what I want. I'm writing a list of what I'm buying for everyone". 
It's Christmas and he's excited about what he can buy his family and friends. 
He went shopping on Wednesday night, armed with his list and $100. My mom met him at the mall. 
"I don't want to shop for your present with you standing 2 feet away from me pretending you're not watching." 
It took him less than one hour. He referred to his list, knew which stores he needed to shop at, had budgeted his alotted money, and was done in 53 minutes. Efficient. 
By the time he went to bed, he had all the gifts wrapped with bright paper and labeled with gift tags he had made himself. 

I am SO raising him right. 
Yay me. 

Drew and I spend Thursday night (the 23rd) Christmas shopping. He still had a few people left that wanted to buy for, and I really needed to just get started. So we did a marathon session that lasted 4 hours. FOUR hours. From the time I got off work til we couldn’t take one more minute of walking, looking, thinking, buying. 

At one point, I was more than ready to just hand out cheques in nicely decorated envelopes when Drew said, “Mom, do you have any cash? I need $5. Maybe more if there’s tax.” 
“I don’t have much cash on me, sweets. I can pay for your gift with Visa when I pay for the stuff I’m buying.” 
“NO. I found something for you. I want to pay for it by myself. Can I have some money?” 
I found a wrinkled up $10 at the bottom of my purse and handed it to him. 
“Don’t look. Don’t even watch. No one will steal me. I’m fine. Go over there and wait, OK?” 
I went to the back of the store, but kept an eye on the exits, just in case… 
“Here’s your change.” He said proudly at he hid the bag behind his back. 
“I got a deal. She asked me if I’d like a discount, so I said, uh, OK. So she said all I had to do was sign my name and write my postal code. I told her I didn’t know my postal code, so I guess I wouldn’t get the discount. But she said she’d put down a fake one, all I’d have to do was sign my name. But I don’t really have a signature, my handwriting isn’t too good, but she said that was OK, just scribble anything, so I did. And so it only cost me $2.99” 

He came with me to the til area as I made my purchases, and pointed out the clerk who was so helpful to him. She was a young, attractive and friendly looking. 
“I was in this line first.” He says as we stand in aisle 2. “But the lady who was buying something in front of me got all mad about something and she started to yell at the cashier. I didn’t know what to do, she looked mean. Then that lady told me I could go into her line. And she gave me a deal…” 

He was smiling from his heart, happy to have found (another) perfect gift for me. 
And that inspired me to keep on truckin’. Even if it took every last ounce of energy in my possession, I would continue shopping. 

Drew made a card for Todd Bertuzzi (of the Vancouver Canuck's). He wanted to wish him a Merry Christmas and let him know we've been praying for him. It was a sweet bit of correspondence, completely instigated by a 10 year old who's missing a season of hockey. He looked up Todd's address on Telus's online "Phone Book". Unfortunatley it was desperately incomplete. 
The card was returned to us today. 
Kinda sad. 

Drew's Favorites: 

His favorite:
1. Family game: Scattegories
2. Favorite piece of jewelry: Bups's gold nugget.
3. Winter activity: snowboarding
4. Hot Beverage: Hot Chocolate from Esquires
5. Quote: "Don't be such a zeltoid." Mark's grade 12 Year Book Quote
6. Colour on you: Dark blue
7. Summer activity: cruising on bikes with Markie at Cultus
8. Topping on pancakes: Syrup
9. Musician: Mad Child
10. File Folder Colour: Pink

(Pic above is England 2010)
Blog post below is Valentine's Day: 2005:

“Not the girls.”
I was wondering when it would happen.
Clint stopped in grade 2. Max in grade 4. Drew is in grade 5 and this is the year.
“I’ll give Valentine’s to the guys only.”

With his class list before him, he personalized the SpongeBob Valentines, crossing out some words and adding others.
“How should I attach the Smartie packages?” he wondered.
“How about using the hot glue gun?” I suggested.

Looking forward to squeezing a trigger, he plugged it in and waited for it to heat up.
The cord wasn’t long enough to reach the table, so he set up a chair as his workspace. But there was a lamp’s cord criss crossing the chair, and he’s left handed, and there were 20 cards and boxes to attach to each other, and he looked overwhelmed. So I handed him one set to glue first.
“Oh! Could this be a teamwork thing, mom?”
“OK. That’s good. Some things just work out better when you work as a team and cooperate with each other.”
“That’s true.”
He picks up his weapon, squeezes the trigger and a blob of hot glue lands on the Smartie box. As he presses the box onto the card, covering up SpongeBob's square pants, he continues “Have you tried something like this at work? You know, the teamwork approach? Maybe you want to tell everyone about it…It might just make things easier for you all.”

Man. I love this kid.

Happy Birthday Drew.
I have loved being your mom.

Be good this weekend.

Dear God,

Thank you for Drew. You did a great job when you created him.
Could you bless him in a special way today?
Open his eyes so he can see how much You love him.
Stir in his heart a desire to get to know you better.
Inspire him to use the gifts you've given him to serve others.
Renew his energy when life's challenges drain him.
Speak to him clearly so that he knows Your will.
Use him for Your purposes; may he lead those who follow him directly to You.

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