Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)
TITLE: Growing Pains
By Donna Powers
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I’m definitely not a morning person – after all, I work the evening shift. So, my son Micah’s morning football practices are not a joy for me. Getting up early to make breakfast is not a pleasure when I don’t get into bed until after midnight.
But: Micah loves football. And, if I left it to him, at most he’d grab a Pop Tart and drink water straight from the faucet. So, I fix breakfast.
As I trudged down the hall, I stretched my sore back and began to think I was hallucinating. Did I smell coffee, toast and bacon?
When I got to the kitchen, I saw Micah finishing a plate of bacon and eggs. In front of my own chair were a banana, a cup of coffee and a bowl of granola.
“Micah, who made breakfast?”
“Yeah, well, you’re always telling me to do stuff. So, I made breakfast. I mean … it’s not rocket science.”
I sipped my coffee. To my surprise, it tasted just fine.
Micah stretched up from the table, rubbed the back of his neck and carried his dishes over to the sink. To my surprise, he began to wash his own dishes.
A teenager’s Mom has certain instincts. “Micah, what do you want?”
“Why do I have to want something? You’ve been bugging me like crazy to do stuff without being asked.”
“Yes, but you hardly ever pay attention. So, what is it this time?”
Micah rubbed his shoulders and turned to me. “Mom, I want to get a job.”
“You already have a job. Your auto shop teacher got you a job at Parrish’s garage.” Breakfast was nice, but I’m not a pushover. Micah struggles with his grades, and working more hours probably wouldn’t help those grades.
“Yeah, Mom. I like the job. But I need more money. I want to buy a car.”
“Micah, we talked about this. You need all your free time for your studies.”
Micah swabbed the counter. “I know, Mom. But, please listen.”
I nodded, as he came toward the table. I noticed he was still rubbing his neck and shoulders.
“Have you hurt yourself?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Why are you rubbing your neck and shoulders?”
“I don’t know. They just hurt. Maybe it’s growing pains.”
I smiled at that one. I remembered Micah as a young child; each time he’d get hurt he’d tell me it was because he was getting growing pains. He’d been so eager to grow up, and now it seemed he was really beginning to do so.
“Well, be careful in practice today. If it still hurts, tell the school nurse.”
“Yeah, OK. Mom, here’s the thing: Mr. Parrish thinks I’m really good with foreign engines. He wants to train me to work with them. He said I can work more evening hours and every other weekend. And he’s got a really good car I can buy.”
“Micah, you don’t need a car. The garage is two blocks from school.”
“Yeah, but on my weekends off, I could go places with my friends. I’d also be able to run errands for you once in a while.”
I smiled. “Nice bribe, Micah. This all sounds great – especially the part about you training to work on foreign engines. But what about your grades?”
“I asked Mindy Lassiter to tutor me during study hall.”
I thought of Mindy as a charming, intelligent girl, but: “I thought you said Mindy is a geek.” A faint pink blush began at his cheeks and crept upward.
“She’s not so bad.”
“But you’ve always called her that.”
“Yeah, I know. But she started going to youth group and it’s interesting to hear her talk about the Bible. And she can play Pac Man like there’s no tomorrow. I … kinda …like her.”
“Micah, how wonderful! She’s a really great girl!”
“Aw, Mom. Don’t go ordering wedding invitations. She’s just a nice girl and I want to spend some time with her. Plus, it won’t hurt my grades to have her tutor me.”
I sighed. It looked like he’d thought everything out. I asked him to let me think about it for awhile and he agreed. I looked over at Micah: gathering his books, football uniform and work clothes without being prompted. Maybe my little boy is finally growing up. So, maybe that pain in my back is growing pains, too.
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