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July 18, 2016

teenage lies

Despite what my offspring believe, I was a teenager once - as was Coach.  Coach and I were both raised by strict parents, who expected us to work hard and save money for college.  We spent time with friends, but more time was allocated to our jobs.  Coach worked as a caddy alongside my two younger brothers.  The three of them made great money hauling golf bags around for members of an exclusive golf course.  I funded my pricey private college education by caring for other people's kids.  I babysat so much, I feared that I would find raising my own family boring.  Update:  boredom is not an issue. 

Laddie, Eddie, and Tetenka caddy at a private golf club less than 15 minutes away from home.  By showing their faces consistently and waiting for hours on end, they have built a reputation at the golf club.  Some golfers have occasionally requested them.  They typically make good money.  If they don't show up, they don't make anything.  Because they get paid in cash, it is hard to track what they have made.  Coach created a spreadsheet on the computer to assist them in calculating their earnings.  If they input dummy information, we would be none the wiser.  That wouldn't typically be an issue unless your teenage son, who is about to go off to college, has trouble with honesty.

Laddie prefers not to wait around for a loop.  He enjoys swimming in his friend's backyard pool.  Workouts are instrumental to this future college football player.  He lives his life around his college issued fitness program.  Meanwhile, his dirty laundry piles up in the hallway outside the laundry room.  I have refused to wash his clothes since the fall when he treated me with disrespect and displayed an entitlement issue concerning the things that I did for him.  While he regularly desperately tries to wiggle out of his caddy job, he certainly isn't utilizing his time to organize his room and clean his clothes.  Lounging on the couch in the cool basement playing Xbox or toying with his always entertaining phone consume his free time.  Littering the bathroom floor with soiled boxers and inside out sweat socks happens to be another one of his strengths.

Although we don't live in a very affluent area, I'm becoming convinced that his friends don't have jobs.  Perhaps they secretly have trust funds brimming over with cash.  Why work if the trust fund is poised to handle any tuition needs that arise? 

While Laddie might claim that his parents are slave drivers, his social life is far from deprived.  I can count on one hand how many times this recent high school grad has been home in the evening.  He manages to have plans with friends every night of the week.  It's mind boggling.  The number of graduation parties he has attended is staggering.  I wasn't even aware that he knew this many kids in his graduating class. 

A few weeks ago we caught him in a lie.  He claimed that he caddied, but the timing of the loops his brothers got and the loop he pretended to have didn't jive.  The thing about lies, or at least the thing about Lad's lies, are that they are never fool proof.  Our oldest son may think we are fools, but he is as wrong there as he is in believing that he is entitled to more time with his friends.

Because I was once a teenager (I swear it happened - I even have the bad hair pictures from the 80's to prove it), I remember trying to squeeze out as much fun with my soon-to-be-dispersed-around-the-country high school friends.  There were nights I wasn't able to go out.  I had prior babysitting commitments.  Unlike carrying a guy's golf clubs around at the last minute, promising to watch a gaggle of kids is no easy responsibility to shirk.  My parents drew a line.  So did my friends' parents.  We didn't expect to string together countless nights of fun peppered with day trips to the beach or the mall.  All good things must come to an end.  I'm hoping that if we come down hard enough on Laddie that he will learn this lesson. 

As Laddie and Eddie traveled home from their mission trip Saturday, I texted them to let them know that Tetenka had added their name to a list of caddies available to caddy in a 27 hole tournament today.  Mondays are usually a caddy's only day off.  Knowing this, I scheduled two doctor appointments for Lad that needed to be handled before he went away to school.  Because there have been a number of missed caddy opportunities thanks to weather, mission trips, and friends, I agreed to reschedule the doctor appointments when Tetenka called from the caddy shack to ask if he should sign himself up along with his brothers who were still away on a mission trip. 

Laddie called me from the van bringing them home from the Indian reservation where they had been all week.  He was distressed about the fact that he was expected to caddy today.  He couldn't possibly caddy.  He and his friends had made plans to go to the beach in the city.  I pointed out that he knew about the doctor visits weeks ago, so regardless of whether or not he caddied in the tournament at the course he still had doctor appointments which overruled a beach trip.  He begged and pleaded for  awhile, but by the time he arrived home from the mission trip, he seemed to have accepted his reality. 

Coach admitted that he felt sorry for Lad.  I reminded him that this was a kid who had assured us that he had written his graduation thank you notes prior to leaving on the mission trip.  When I grabbed the stack in order to stuff them in the envelopes that were already addressed and stuffed with Curly's First Communion thank you notes, I found that the cards were still blank.  Had Coach forgotten how annoyed he was that Laddie was hanging out with friends every night of the week?  I wasn't ready to feel sorry for a kid who drove our car, hung out with his friends, and had been recently pretended to caddy.  The situation was unfortunate, but if the golf course had a decent caddy master who alerted kids about upcoming tournaments in a timely fashion, then we wouldn't be struggling with this problem. 

It rained last night.  Most of our beach towels were on the deck drying.  Oops.  In order to go to the pool today, I raced upstairs to grab a spare towel that I knew was in the laundry room.  We had already rustled up a few other towels.  The magenta towel that had been been spared from the rainstorm on the deck was not on the dryer where I had seen it last night.  That riddle along with Laddie's willingness to fold were red flags. 

I took Reggie to the high school this evening for a swim team tryout.  The fact that our youngest son wants to add another high intensity sport to our hectic schedule is a subject for another post.  It is true that he does an excellent job swimming for our little summer swim team.  Another hefty financial and time consuming commitment in the shape of another sport isn't my idea of good sense.  Anyway - a high school kid showed up to tryout for the club swim team and waltzed through the door right behind us.  He was still wearing his caddy clothes.  I know him by name and I asked him if he saw Laddie caddy today in the tournament.  'No,' he said as he shook his head.  Then I asked if my other two caddies were present and accounted for, 'Yes.'  Interesting.  Timing is everything.  It was just that simple. 

Dealing with a sneaky kid who would rather not work, who is over committed to football, and who fails to recognize that any money he doesn't earn for college will need to be borrowed from a bank is far from simple.  Life was a hell of a lot simpler when I babysat for other people's kids. 

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