Tag Archives: teen grows up

Lost in Dr. Who-ville: A Whole Lotta’ Baking Going On

22 Aug

There’s a stranger in my kitchen, baking cookies.

He looks a lot like my teenager, although he’s a foot taller than last year’s model.

But he’s baking cookies. For the second time this week.

There’s flour on the fridge, on the window ledge, and on the sink. There’s even some in the mixing bowl.

I wouldn’t say he can’t bake. He just doesn’t. Last Christmas the two of us made gingerbread together and I thought he was getting the hang of it. I didn’t notice until too late that he’d added a tablespoon of whole cloves instead of ground.

Mmmmmmm, crunchy…

(Before you judge him on his lack of culinary knowledge, you should know that when his mother was a teenager, she foraged through the pantry for a snack and came up with a pretty, gold-wrapped square of something called “bouillon” and popped it into her mouth. He comes by it honestly.)

Flour on the table

Now that I’ve regenerated…boy, am I hungry!

There’s flour on the stove top. He hasn’t even pre-heated the oven yet!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, of all the amazing things this talented young man enjoys and does well, baking is not a strength. Cooking, yes. He can produce a mean Chèvre/Gouda mac’n cheese with very little effort, or a satisfying one-pot meal in a Dutch oven over a campfire. But these are forgiving dishes; they can handle a little miss-handling, if you know what I mean.

Baking, however, is a calm task that requires precise measuring and very little bobbing. Those of you with teens know bouncing and sudden, unexplainable leaping comes with the territory. Unless there’s work to be done, in which case they’ve got that whole comatose thing mastered.

There’s flour on the cat.

So, why would an otherwise normal teenager be using up perfectly good summer vacation days to do something other than Skype and Minecraft?

Well apparently, tomorrow is the 912th-or-something season premiere of Dr. Who. You remember Dr. Who, right? That British program(me) about a delightfully cocky extraterrestrial who travels everywhere and everywhen for no apparent reason and always manages to arrive just in time to prevent the demise of the universe.

Frankly, I didn’t even know the show was still in production, but that gives you an idea of how far I’ve fallen behind the times—although in this case, does it really matter? (Ha! Timelord humor.)

And also, apparently, this season premiere thing is a big deal. The kind of big deal that calls for a Superbowl-type party, at which chips and dip are considered unacceptable fare, as are bacon, baked beans, and bread & butter. So, looking at the list of acceptable fare, and seeing that Fish Fingers with Custard was already taken, and TARDIS Pies (the flavor is bigger on the inside) contain some rather costly ingredients, he opted to make cookies. Big, perfectly round cookies that must be decorated with Circular Gallifreyan writing. (I refuse to look that up, on the grounds that I might learn that it is, indeed, an accepted language with its own dictionary, thesaurus, and syntax rules).

Yesterday he made a half-batch, as a test. They were quite good, and floury. That afternoon we had an appointment across town, after which we stopped for lunch.

The meal is on me, I told him, but anything extra comes out of your own money. He pulled out his wallet to check his finances and when he opened it, up wafted a puff of white flour.

“Hmm,” he said, grinning as he watched the powdery white dust settle on the car seat, the dash, and all over his lap. “How’d that get in there?”

I could only watch, incredulous, and laugh with him.

Yep, I thought. I’m pretty sure that’s my boy.



 “That’s monstrous! Vaporisation without representation is against the constitution!”      — The Doctor

Taking Flight

3 Aug

In my heart he’s still my baby, my youngest, my little man. But watching him stride through the airport to meet seven other Canada-bound Boy Scouts from his troop, I’m momentarily startled by the volume of space his six-foot frame commands. A mother should never have to look up to address her 14-year-old.

Wearing an eyepatch

Eyepatch, eh?

He’s been to Canada before. We went to Niagara Falls when he was seven. Back then he had to wear an eye patch to strengthen a weak eye; we would draw picture on each day’s patch to at least keep the process interesting.  Of course the patches that week sported Canadian Flags and waterfalls. He was adorable. And small.

He greets his friends with handshakes. (When did that start?) In mere seconds he’s absorbed into the line of khaki uniforms and overstuffed backpacks heading to the check-in counter, but I can pick out his size-13 hiking boots in the assembly of feet.

I’m struggling to identify an overwhelming weight pressing down on my heart, making it somewhat hard to breathe.

It’s not fear, of that I’m certain. I will say, though, in the months leading up to this 10-day canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness, I experienced a range of emotions, from envious elation at the incredible opportunity before him to brown-bag-deep-breathing-exercise-inducing moments of dread over what COULD happen. I conjured images of giant snarling bears, stampeding moose, and head-splitting falls against the rocks.

But this isn’t fear. I know he’s a responsible young man who is well trained, and I trust his leaders implicitly. I’m confident that the number of his days has been ordained by The One who knows how many hairs are on his head. I’m very much aware that every day we have to share with loved ones is a gift, and that I’ve received 5,323 undeserved one-more-day gifts with this boy thus far (and twice that for his older brother). I pray I have many more, knowing that our days on Earth are no less guaranteed in the wilderness than on the interstate beside a drunk driver if God decides it’s time to come home.

So, what is this pain?

The boys finish checking their bags and stop at the parent pool for a last round of good-bye hugs. I fight the urge to remind him not to spend all his money on the trip out, and stand on tip-toes to whisper in his ear that I love him. He surprises me by NOT rolling his eyes.

They head to the gate, walking away from us as one body. But my boy is the tallest in the group, and not at all hard to follow. He’s deeply engrossed in conversation with his pals, oblivious to the emotional wreck of a mom watching him leave. Then I see him turn and look back.

Ready for Takeoff

Ready for Takeoff

I suddenly know what’s going on in my heart. It has finally realized that my little man is about to walk through that gate and disappear, and that I won’t recognize the person who comes back. In ten days when I see him again, his face will be tan, his arms muscled from days of pulling the oars, and he no doubt will be even taller, but he will also be more confident, capable, and independent. This is the beginning of adulthood, and I’m just not ready for it.

Saying good-bye to my little eye-patch boy is breaking me.