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Dear Readers,

I’m so excited that my badgering has paid off. Here’s another guest post. The Royce had a birthday last week, and it prompted some reflection.

I’ll be back next week with a story about the eldest. Parents with teenagers will relate.

Love,
Beth

This is The Royce in his natural habitat.

 

Aging vs. Old: A Rant
Guest post by The Royce

So, yesterday was my birthday. And that’s good because, hey, another trip around the sun, right? But somewhere along the way — in the last, oh say, few years or so (I don’t know whatever) — it occurred to me that, while I am not old (yet), I am, in fact, aging. Maybe I’m finally “of a certain age” — whatever the hell that entails — because, while I’m definitely still an easygoing person, little things are starting to grind my gears just a bit.

Like those damn neighborhood kids walking in my yard! LOLJK. (Note from Beth: I don’t think he is, in fact, JK.)

Though it’s commonly *cough* invariably *cough* attached to middle age and miracle creams, signs of aging actually applies to things other than crow’s feet and smile lines.

I’m talking about the less-obvious, non-physical signs of aging. Because like it or not, every day of every year, you’re aging. You just don’t notice it.

Until you do.

And then you notice it again. And again. It’s a lot like buying a new car that you thought was unique and rare until you drive off the lot and there’s three of the same vehicle waiting at the first intersection you get to.

On Jan. 13, 1974, the Super Bowl was on my seventh birthday, and I got to watch my favorite team, the Miami Dolphins, become two-time world champions against the Minnesota Vikings. Not a bad day for a kid.

In 2020, the game is three weeks later, two hours longer, and the pre-game show lasts half a day. WTH?

When did that happen?

You see, that’s not old. That’s aging.

Recently I went out with my lovely wife to meet some friends visiting from out of town. We arrived a few minutes early and looked over the drink menu while we waited.

I’m sorry, but WTF?! How did a cocktail get to be $14 in this town? (Note from Beth: They live in Savannah.) Did I teleport to Manhattan when I walked
through the door to this place?

Again: Not old. Aging.

You know why people don’t go out as much when they get a little older? It’s less about being tired and more because we don’t want to get bent over paying those ridiculous prices every time we feel like having a nice meal somewhere. Hey, how about we go out for dinner and have a couple glasses of WELL SHIT THERE GOES A HUNDRED BUCKS.

No, it’s not denial. Old will, with some luck, arrive eventually.

But for now … nah, not old. Merely aging, just like I have every day of my life. And considering the alternative, I’m fine with that.

Seriously, though. Would it kill the little cretins to stay off my lawn?

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Dear Readers:

My playful ribbing of my friends has paid off. Nick has come through with a guest post about dealing with teenagers — a frequent topic of mine. His oldest is older than mine, so he’s been through it.

And for the rest of you (Julia, Royce, Kerstin, TJ), don’t worry about it being perfect. That’s what editors are for. Send it!

Love,
Beth

Advice for harassed parents (or how I learned to stop worrying and love my kid)
Guest post by Nick (aka He Who Has Been There)

My eldest son just turned 18. Here in the U.K., that’s it: All milestones hit. He’s now a grown man, even though if he buys beer he’ll still get challenged for appearing to be under 21, despite the drinking age being 18. Go figure. He can have a house, car, family — all that. First, he needs to get a job. But we’ll leave that particular bone of contention for another time.

Getting this far wasn’t easy. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve said something along the lines of “YOU’LL PICK UP THAT SOCK/PLATE/INDETERMINATE MATTER IF YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR NEXT BIRTHDAY,” which was normally met with an exasperated sigh or the dreaded eye-roll. See, the thing is, and this is important for anyone with a kid who’s in the middle of those teenage years to know:

You’ll always LOVE your kid. It’s okay to not LIKE them sometimes.

It’s easy when they’re small. For example, it’s cute when they get so excited at Christmas that they literally piss themselves. Or, when potty training is happening, they get their junk caught in a CD case and run into the kitchen shouting “ME NO LIKE!” (Both real, both SURE to mortify the boy if he ever reads this.)

Here’s Nick. Innocent. He has no idea what this creature will become in just 10 or so years.

But as they grow in size, they also get this disastrous condition called “their own personality.” Shocking, I know. And when they get to about 12, 13? That personality generally stinks. As do they, because puberty takes no prisoners where body odour is concerned (Note from Beth: “Odor” as we Americans shun unnecessary letters).

The smallest things become battlegrounds.

Concerned Parent: “Have you done your homework?”
Insolent Child: *AUDIBLE EYE ROLL*
CP: “May as well get it done now, kid Then it’s finished so you’ve got the weekend to yourself.”
IC: “GOD.” (Stomps away)

A hill that we both picked to die on was a matter of hygiene. As in, brush your goddamn teeth. He’d wake up, have breakfast, and sit in the living room in his trademark sullen silence. When I would ask if he’d brushed his teeth, the look of horror and disgust was as if I’d offered him a lightly grilled stoat (Note from Beth: This is British-speak for weasel) as an aperitif. He’d eventually stomp away to the bathroom, but only after I’d shown him the Big Book of British Smiles. (Our teeth aren’t really that bad, but it made a point, and “The Simpsons” is gold.)

Then.

One magical day a few months before his 18th birthday, he all of a sudden stopped being this terrible-smelling, silent protagonist in his own Greek tragedy, and became a larger version of the kid I used to know. Hairier, with a deeper voice (no seriously: He’s like a skinny white version of Barry White, fer chrissake), but actually nice to be around. I look forward to our movie nights. Sharing a beer with the kid. Actually having a human conversation.

Here’s Nick with his son, who has regained human form. Neither has the capacity to smile for a selfie, apparently.

So, parents of teenagers: Hang in there. It gets worse before it gets better. But when it gets better, it’s great!

If only he’d get off his arse, and get a job …

 

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