Friday, April 20, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on April 30th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 8 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 15, Issue 8

Oh, boy

Raising a young man sometimes means raising a little Cain!


Hello, all you mothers! May is here, spring is in the air, and I am finally recovering from that lost hour of sleep. Whoever thought up stupid Daylight Savings Time did not run a household, which is very much like being a sherpa. I must buy and unload mountains of groceries, tackle landslides of laundry, and work my way through mounds of dishes. When I get to the end of one stack, there’s yet another on the horizon.

Or perhaps I’m more like a safari guide as I navigate supermarket aisles, fighting off wild college students and tiger mothers to grasp that last package of hamburger marked “manager’s special.”

Sometimes I’m a deep-sea diver, swimming with the sharks as I zoom down freeways and through streets, dodging the other makos and orcas as I race between school, soccer games, and synagogue.

Occasionally I am an archaeologist as I search through the detritus and ruins of my child’s bedroom, searching for elusive soccer cleats, shin guards, eyeglasses, or inhaler.

My role of mother came with the double whammy of being a grandmother when we became guardians of my husband’s grandson when he was barely 4. This meant striking a delicate balance between discipline and indulgence.

I always try to remember that as parents we are not raising children, but rather we are raising adults, for that is what children eventually become. I have often had to remind my husband, The Brit, of this, as he loves to spoil our grandson. So we parent during the week and play grandparents on weekends and holidays.

Now our adopted son of 12, the Britween, is on the verge of becoming a teenager and already does what teenaged boys do best: eat, sleep, and brood.

Waking him and my husband each morning is akin to herding elephant seals. They don’t want to budge and bark angrily when you try to move them. Over the years it has become easier to hurry my husband out of bed. I simply put on a black veil, sit at the edge of our bed, and cry. Works every time!

The Britween, however, doesn’t fall for this ruse and I must resort to blackmail. I go to the computer, pull up the darling photograph I took of his naked little tush as he slept when he was just 3 years old, and shout, “Get up now or I am sending this to everyone I know!” Also works every time because he knows I’m not bluffing!

Finally awake, he will stagger into the kitchen, exclaiming, “I’m starving! What can I eat?” This has become his mantra, chanted every two hours.

I have watched this boy grow from a tiny tyke to his current height of 5-feet-2-inches—one inch shorter than me—and he’s not done yet. His pediatrician predicts he will reach a height of well over 6 feet, based on his growth charts.

When he is hungry, he is ravenous. Feeding him has not become merely a requisite of mothering him; it has become a necessary means of self-preservation. I even provide healthy snacks for him to have at school so that he doesn’t devour one of the preschoolers.

Once fed, his digestion operates like a high-energy particle accelerator that could put the Large Hadron Collider to shame. I swear, one of these days there is going to be another Big Bang that has nothing to do with physics!

Only a couple of years ago he would marvel at The Brit’s gaseous sonic booms and reprimand him.

“GrandDad, do you mind? We have to live here!”

Now he matches my husband fart for fart. It’s like one big, noxious fartopalooza! There have been times when our living room has been transformed into the Den of Death, and I’ve considered having the house condemned.

Yes, our little boy is growing up. Speaking of growth, his hair grows so fast and thick, it has to be cut with a weed whacker. And his feet are growing fastest of all. He wears a men’s size shoe and currently looks like the letter “L.” My God, I’m raising a yeti!

Taking him clothes shopping is a real treat. Only a brooding tween-aged boy can suck all of the fun out of a shopping trip. His vocabulary is diminished to one word—“no”—and his ability to converse becomes limited to shoulder shrugs and eye rolling. Getting him to wear long pants instead of shorts has become our own version of A Game of Thrones.

Says I, “How about these pants? You need something warmer and winter is coming.”

“You know nothing of fashion, Grandma,” says the Imp.

“A man who won’t listen can’t hear or play with his iPod for at least a week,” fumes the Dragon.

“Valar Morghulis,” broods the boy.

Cries his grandmother, “Don’t you give me ‘whatever,’ young man! Dracarys!”

This grandmother doesn’t back down and never will. It’s at times like this that I remember what Rose Kennedy once said about motherhood:

“When you hold your baby in your arms the first time and you think of all the things you can say and do to influence him it’s a tremendous responsibility. What you do with him and for him can influence not only him, but everyone he meets, not for a day, a month, a year, but for time and for eternity.”

This and memories of my own grandmother and mother tolerating and forgiving my shenanigans are what keeps me on track. That and the treasured moments I share with my Britween every evening before he goes to bed as we cuddle together on the sofa.

“You’re so warm,” he’ll tell me.

“All dragons are,” I smile.


Ariel Waterman apologizes to George R.R. Martin and is eternally grateful to Rose Kennedy. Send happy Mother’s Day wishes to her (and Mrs. Miller, deservedly so) via editor, Ryan Miller, at

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