Tuesdays With Declan: It's National Sons Week...And I Need To Gush! From IEP Misfit To Santa Barbara High School “Student Of The Month”

“Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Beautiful boy...

Out on the ocean sailing away I can hardly wait To see you come of age But I guess we'll both just have to be patient 'cause it's a long way to go A hard row to hoe Yes it's a long way to go

~John Lennon

Tuesday’s were never so special as they are now. With my fiancé’ in nursing school full-time and my Stepson going to Grandma’s on Tuesdays, my son D. and I how found an oasis in making and executing dinner plans on Tuesday evenings. He is as bright a boy as anyone could hope for, but there is more. He actually likes to have dinner with me.

We spend hours talking about food he has not tried or food he is interested in. We talk about what different restaurants make him feel like. He is all about the adventure of life these days. The adventure of school, of Cross Country and of moving up in his educational goals.

D. is in his freshman year at Santa Barbara High School. D. has an IEP, which can make getting him the right kind of education a very creative and painstaking process. I have to visit his counselor every two weeks right now. His progress has been crazy this fall. He has been moved up in his levels once already and now he wants to move up to the top of the “educational food chain”, Honors and A. P.

He has A’s and even A +’s in all of his classes, he is Student Of The Month this month. (actually it is for September but they get it in October) He is taking office in student government,doing community service, breaking his PR is every Cross Country meet and joining friends at football games and dances as if he had been doing it all of his life.

OK…so the first thing I said was, “where is my shy kid and who are you?”
He laughs. “Oh Mom, I’m just growing up. It’ll be OK. Promise.” And on top of everything else he has apparently become a therapist and spiritual advisor. Slinging lines like, "Mom you need to look at this from my perspective.” Or “Mom you are not going to get much done if you keep letting your anger control you.” I Sh-- thee not. (on the nose too...I am cranky as hell these days) Dr.D? Really?

He comes home last week and says he wants to go to Summer School at City College to get Geometry and ASL out of the way for the fall. He is choosing colleges and majors. It is like high school is just a “train stop” on the way to …wherever. And whereever is a BIG place, full of possibilities. And instead of the bottom of that list, he feels he is now at the top...the very,very top.

This Tuesday we walked to Sushi Teri, a favorite and the boy ordered a huge plate of Sushi and he scarfed it like a starving seal. No Wasabi, no soy sauce. Just piece after piece of Nigiri. I get a Chirashi bowl and he said that mine looked good and he would get it next time. Really? I big bowl of raw fish? What is he Flipper now?

We talked about his upcoming 14Th Birthday party. (It is Ok to remind me I am nutz...just stating the obvious) He is inviting a whole slew of new guys and the ever-elusive…gggiiirrrrllllssss. Gulp. We sat at the table waiting for our food and mapped out a rather detailed Scavenger Hunt down State St. This is how it goes: The guys will break into groups of 3.

Each group will be given a map of locations and at each location there is a “task.”

They go as follows:

1) Mac’s Fish N’ Chips: Eat a bite of Haggis (yes Haggis)

2) The Gap: Break dance

3) The Apple Store: Rap

They each have to take a picture on their phones at each locaion, doing "the task" and then get a managers stamp to prove they were there.

…and the list continues to grow. Any thoughts?

I am full of delight and anticipation almost every day. I go to Cross Country meets and cheer. He runs the entire team through our house on occasion during practice runs. He is on Facebook like any other teenager, but the witty remarks he marks are like Mystery Science Theatre 2000 for FB. He is funny! And if college for some reason does not work out, I think be could make it in stand-up comedy.

He has volunteered to wash dishes, do laundry and even grocery shop, citing, “Mom I need to help you more with Nate in school.” I swear if this is some kind of joke, I am falling for it. D. has always been a good kid, but…not particularly helpful. But now it is like "Pube-Boy Kriptonite" has hit.

He has his rough days. Comes home with weird body image issues and of course girl trouble. He has friends who have no problem talking and relating to girls.But he is still very shy towards the ones he likes. In fact he admits he is speechless and asks me daily if this will pass. I tell him, " I don't know, I was speechless too."

I assure him this is really normal. He doesn’t believe me because... “You don’t understand…You are a Mom”…therefore I know nothing.

This may indeed be true. I certainly know nothing about 14 year old girls. Especially when they dress like they are getting’ ready to hop the Greyhound to Vegas. What are their Mothers thinking? Big hair, lots of black makeup, shorty shorts and high heal shoes. What do they have secret stashes of "Ho Wear" hidden in phone booths near school? WTH! I think about the chiropractic bills alone. Louboutins at 14, oh please! There is no status in absurdity! On the days when I see the girls dressed like “hoochy Mamas” I kiss the ground in thanks that I have boys!

Levi’s and T-Shirts and he is a happy guy. He does like the more fitted Gap T-shirts these days (to show off his new physique. But that is it. Some matching pullovers and we are good. So I can handle the $120 running shoes. It makes sense for good equipment rather than back breaking, status based fashion.

On a daily basis I am left in jaw-dropping wonderment. How did I get so lucky-blessed? And in deep gratitude to the Universe, good friends,counselors and good teachers for taking what was once a pretty awkward IEP kid and helping him find his inner (and outer) Hero!

He is mine anyhow. Here's to you! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…boy.

Love Mom

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