I think my supposedly fifteen year old son may actually be a really tall eight year old. chris-and-tay

Not because he’s dumb.  But because of his complete lack of social skills.  For example, Monday he drove (DROVE!) in driver’s ed and when he got home he realized he didn’t have his permit.   I told him to ask in the office of people that willfully ignore you to see if his permit had turned up and to look in the driver’s ed vehicle.    

Yesterday I arrived home from work and asked “Did you find your permit?” 

“No.”

So I told him to call the DMV and ask what ID is required to get a new permit, and, based upon his outrage, this is terribly taxing.   Looking up a phone number is the teenage boy equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest while hula hooping (or maybe the pain in the ass equivalent of parenting a teenage boy.)

Enabler that I am, I googled the number.  Then he didn’t want to call and ask the question.  Sick of the wimpiness, I demanded, “call or we are not going.”

He called and did fine.  He was polite, asked his question.  Thanked the employee for the info.  

So, what’s the big fucking deal?  Why all the drama?   Seriously, when he has to interact with others he’s charming and sweet.  But he hates to do it.

We got in the car, I drove (due to his lack of permit, LOL) and chatting, on the way to the DMV, I mentioned, “Crap, I was sure your permit would be in the driver’s ed car, did you look between the seats, on the floor, etc?”  

“Oh, I didn’t look in the driver’s ed car.”

Holy Fucking Shit Wonder Woman.

He literally was ONLY in the driver’s ed car, then my car (we searched its highly literate, incredibly hydrated, habitat-for-a-homeless-family interior with no luck.)  but he didn’t think it was necessary to search the ONE place it would likely be found.

Or rather, he was too reticent to ask his teacher if he could look in the vehicle.

Steaming, I queried, “Did you at least ASK in the office if anyone had turned in your permit?”

“No, I had to go in the office to turn in my schedule for next year and if someone had found it, they would have given it to me.”

Yes, because the world revolves around him.

Honestly, I think he just chickened out and didn’t ask.

I get it, I’m naturally shy.  Yes, really!    But as a young adult I read the following quotation by Andre Dubus:

   “Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.”

And it struck me as totally true.  Honestly, other people really don’t give a flying fuck what you do or say.  They aren’t judging your every move.    (Unless they are assholes. Or internet trolls.  In either case, why would you care what they think?) 

Plus, at a certain point you just have to suck it up.   Shit needs to get done and it often requires communicating with others.    I worry I’ve babied the kid too much and am now unsure how to undo the damage.   Should I not have driven him to get his permit until he asked at the office and searched the car?  Even if it resulted in him not being able to drive today?  

It’s hard for me to let him struggle.   To push him when he’s uncomfortable.  And there is the little part of me that still views him as four, not fifteen.  But, alas, in three short years he will be an adult and really needs to be able to converse with others.   Preferably about topics OTHER than Halo3, or solving a Rubik’s Cube.

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14 Responses to “”

  1. Elyse Says:

    Nah, I think it was okay that you took him to get the permit. My brother was much the same way, but he’s turned out just fine! There’s something in today’s internet-, email-driven society where people just don’t like interacting with others as much. However, I think he’ll totally get more comfortable speaking up as he gets older!

    • jenjw4 Says:

      Elyse,
      Thanks, sometimes I think I just worry too much! There’s a part of me that knows he’ll be fine, but it sometimes gets overwhelmed by the part that excessively worries.
      Jennifer

  2. MiddleAgedWomanBlogging Says:

    My son is shy too. He rarely speaks up, except to me! I think this may take him far. It is much better than sticking your foot in your mouth all the time, trust me! I know!

    • jenjw4 Says:

      MAWB,
      My son is the VERY same way! (And I’m the same as you, I really should learn when to shut up!)
      Jennifer

  3. idonotknowme Says:

    What is so great about talking to people? Have you met most people?

    • jenjw4 Says:

      IDNKM,
      Well, I can’t say I’ve met “Most” people, but most people that I’ve met, I’ve liked.
      Jennifer

  4. HollowSquirrel Says:

    I love this post. I’m glad you see that he needs to feel uncomfortable and struggle through it, and even if you did drive him, you let him struggle and frustrate (verb!) and flounder a bit, and you also let him know where he could have spoken up and/or looked for the ID…that he was being a little ridiculous. I love the quote. That’s something good to keep in mind to keep us all a little less self-focused.

    • jenjw4 Says:

      Hollow,
      Thanks. I think the hardest thing is seeing them struggle, but I know it’s necessary, especially as they get older. Honestly, emotionally, it was easier when they were younger and I could swoop in and “save them.”
      Jennifer

  5. steenky bee Says:

    Well, you’d be surprised at what a good conversation starter the Halo3 thing can be. There’s a few adult males in the office that use that time and time again on some of the single gals. It never works. Sorry.

    As an aside, thank you so much for your kind words on my behalf over at Sego Lily Day Spa! Woot! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I make it into the final five!

    • jenjw4 Says:

      Steenky, Well, I guess the upside of that is that I won’t have to worry about him getting anyone pregnant. The downside is that I may never have any grandchildren, LOL.

  6. Mary Says:

    I feel your pain. Our sons could do battles of Halo, rubiks cube, and shyness. But I also remember when you and I were both incredibly shy, and look how perfectly well adjusted we turned out.

  7. Michael Says:

    As the father of 3 sons I have always found the better approach is to stay out of it until they have exhausted the options. I would have told the boy to find the permit he lost, get a new one on his own or do without. Period. It is amazing how fast responsibility motivates them to apply themselves to the things they really want. Driving a car is an excellent motivator and it is amazing what a teenager is suddenly capable of facing with the possible loss of this treasured dream.

  8. Shari Says:

    Don’t you wish there were shortcuts in life? But it seems very person needs to find their own way through — but how much simpler our kid’s lives would be if they could benefit from our sage advice!! 🙂

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