Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I Found Under the 16-Year-Old Boy's Covers

This song just came on, and it reminded me that I have been meaning to write about the 16-year-old boy. I guess listening to Chris Rene singing about how he became clean, and remembering how the 16-year-old boy explained the song to me, pointing out where it was shot, in Santa Cruz, one of our most favorite vacation spots, and how long Chris has been clean, made me have warm and fuzzy feelings towards my oldest son at home. I love how he is moved by songs about cowboys and their relationship with God and former drug addicts and their road to recovery.

But the above paragraph isn't really what I wanted to write about. I wanted to tell you what I found on the 16-year-old boy's bed last week.

I had called John, and we were having a discussion about our budget, one that required diligent attention on my part. Extending this attention was difficult with the kids riding their new trike through the house, singing The Cave over and over, and throwing Legos across the dining room, so I decided to veer into the 16-year-old's room, which was the closest private area to my then current location. I closed the door behind me, then as I listened to John talk about how we would pay for what that week, I looked around in disgust at my son's bedroom. It smelled bad, like old football clothes and cowboy boots. And food. And a waffle-scented candle he lights sometimes to cover up all of the smells. And here is what his bed looked like...


He had slept in it only a few hours previously, incomprehensibly, but as I sat down on his bed to continue the conversation with John, and took a close look at what was actually on his bed, my heart started to melt and I realized what a sweet-on-the-inside football player/cowboy/electrician/teenage son I have. Let me show you.

First, we have his scriptures opened to where he fell asleep reading them the night before...


I notice that this happens often, and I find myself turning off his lamp and covering his feet in the dark hours when the house is perfectly still.

Next we have a Strength of the Youth pamphlet in Spanish....


The Strength of the Youth pamphlet is a set of guidelines the youth in our church, and should I say the youth of all the world, should live by. It includes information about prayer, Sabbath Day worship, appropriate dress, media, dating, and much more. If you'd like to read one in English, you can go HERE.

Under the Fortaleza de la Juventud pamphlet, we have several Dr. Seuss books...


At the time I didn't know if he had been reading these to a younger sibling, or if he enjoyed them himself, but either way, endearing, don't you think? Later, after I'd asked him to clean his room, I went to check on it and saw large lumps under his comforter. I pulled it back, only to see all of these items still on his sheet. I said, "16-year-old boy. No." He said, "Mom! You can't just come in here and pull down my covers and say 'No'. These are all things I use every night!" And then, unapologetically, "And I read Dr. Seuss books." So there, without prompting, question answered.

Now we have a prayer rock....


I remember the family night when we painted these rocks. He was only about 9 years old. I was amazed that he still had it, and apparently uses it to remind himself to pray every night.

Next, I found a collection of Popular Mechanics and Science magazines....


The 16-year-old boy doesn't enjoy reading novels, but he can bury his nose in one of these magazines all morning. I love that he loves to learn.

And last, but not least, I found a stuffed rottweiler puppy in the corner of his bed....


I think he took it from his Grandma's house on the border town where I grew up. Need I say more? The whole concept of a football player sleeping with one of his grandma's stuffed animals is adorable.

For all the struggles parents go through with teenagers, some days we hit paydays, and that one day last week was one of them. I love the 16-year-old boy and the young man he has become....


Thanks for listening.