Seventeen Years Old

Dear Tad,

Today is your 17th birthday, and really, this cannot be happening.  How on earth can YOU be 17???

I have said this before, but you somehow have the healthiest and happiest social life of all of us.  As I write this, you have just spent the most amazing day out.  You began your birthday with a breakfast doughnut, and then your Dad bought even more doughnuts for you to take to share with your friends at day camp.  Day camp was spent doing a ropes course, zip lines, and then laser tag and mini golf after lunch.  The doughnuts got eaten at lunchtime as a birthday snack.  When I came to pick you up, I also picked up two of your friends (a little mom schedule juggling, it happens to us all), and I took you all to Costco for a snack, and then to the mall, where we met up with even MORE friends for a movie.

And this was even missing the friends who were on vacation!  You see what I mean when I say you have a healthy and happy social life?

Generally, you are a pretty easygoing teenager.  But you do have your moments, buddy, when it’s clear that you are struggling with wanting to be “grown-up” and making your own decisions, and lash out because you are uncertain of what that should look like.  All you realize in that moment is that we are telling you “no.”  And, shockingly, you don’t like being told “no,” even when it’s with good cause.  Growing up is certainly a struggle, I get it.  Right now, your whole life is full of contradictions.  You want to be big, but you really want to be little again.  You want to do fun stuff, but you don’t want to be responsible for doing things to get to the fun stuff.  You want freedom, but have to have boundaries and structure.

Oh, and you want your sister to give you rides, because Mom is not cool enough to drive you places, and you prefer riding shotgun in Ane’s car to Mom’s minivan.

In so many ways, you are a typical 17 year old boy.  And yet, you’re not, and that line between what is “grumpy teen boy” and what is “autism” can seem pretty thin sometimes.

But we love you so much, Tad.  I wish that I could spare you the emotional roller coaster that you have been on, thanks to adolescence, but I know I can’t.  All I can help you do is ride it out, and continually reassure you that no matter what, your Dad and I love you very much.  (Your siblings are on the fence about that, but never mind them.)

But we’re still going to keep spraying Lysol into your room and running that ozone generator occasionally when we’re out.  Because…. yeah.  You’re a 17 year old boy.

Happy 17th birthday!


Comments are closed.