School’s out. For one fourteen year old who just graduated from the eighth grade those are the two prettiest words in the English language right now. Yesterday he put on a coat and tie and sat on stage looking grown up and serious. Now today he is planning in great detail a summer filled with bikes and skateboards. When I mentioned music lessons he looked at me like I’d grown two heads.
Now this is a kid who loves guitar and piano. But he did not love his music teacher this year and he has lost some ground. I figured that the chance to study with someone cool, somebody with wild hair who could play a little reggae might be just the thing to get him cooking again. Or how about deep-sea fishing? You can learn how to do that on the island. And we really should choose some great books for all those rainy days and bored hours in between the thrilling bits I told him. This suddenly became a one-way conversation. He just could not speak. Was I crazy his face seemed to say? Finally he was able to make his point. “It’s summer. You never know how many summers you will get……..”
At only fourteen I think he’s got a few to go. But I take his point.
This is his hero’s journey not mine. He is called to the adventure of the end of his childhood. There are kids crossing over all round him. They are dating and getting summer jobs and saving up for cars. Two weeks ago we had dinner in what turned into a wild dance club after ten and he and his buddy snuck in, or rather hid out and stayed in, and wound up in the center of a bunch of twenty something year old women dancing and being filmed for UTube notoriety. Each had a dance partner with way more parts than any of the girls in their grade who thought they were like little adorable puppies, as they danced and cooed and petted them like mad. So my boy is not totally immune to the charms of this whole growing up thing. Only he seems to have a firm grasp on the notion that racing his bike around with Timmy and learning to skateboard might be less available in some near future and he wants to soak it all up while there is time.
So I may still talk about the summer reading list. It occurs to me that he is ready for Sherlock Holmes. And I may even continue to lobby for an art class of some guitar lessons. But the truth is that I am secretly rooting for him. I am happy to have him looking up skateboards on the Internet as opposed to cars. I am thrilled that he wants me to bake a bunch of new kinds of cupcakes this summer seeing as he and Timmy have recently encountered modern cupcakes made out of blueberry lemon basil, red velvet, and Oreo. These are not the cupcakes of long ago classroom parties with hard icing and boring centers. So he’d like me to make all the different kinds there are please. He got a gift certificate for graduation so he can build his own skateboard and that is on the agenda for today.
I have a small client on the island this summer that I don’t really have time for but I took it mostly cause it comes with a house for six weeks. I can work from anywhere and I can fly from there as well as here and this way there will be plenty of sandy feet and dog walks on the beach and boys riding the waves just before the storm. Then back in Vermont we are planning our very own drive-in showing Jaws on a white sheet on the side of the house and he and Timmy and Will get to pick the candy for the concession stand on the front porch. Summer is here. It is really and truly here and if Eli has anything to say about it we are going to soak it all up….