He’s decided at the last minute that he does want to go, even though he will be going on his own. I decide this takes balls and I’m happy to encourage him.
‘So can you not get a ride with one of the others in the limo?’ I ask gently.
‘Well no. They organised it back in April. I might go to the After Party though.’
‘Mmm’ It sounds promising for my shy teen.
‘Where’s the After Party and who’s going?’
‘In Bramley, but I don’t know whether I want to go.’
‘Oh son you should be go, it’ll be fun!’
‘But there’ll be alcohol there.’
Trying to urge memories of broken ball gowns, and drunken leering boys out of my little brain.
‘Well that’s ok. If you had a couple of drinks you’d be ok’
Son looks doubtful.
‘But they’ve got four crates of cider!’ Gosh only four crates!
Thinking for 20+ kids that probably won’t go far. Not wanting to encourage the alcoholic binge culture, yet trying to explain that sometimes you can get lead astray in these situations. My Son is tall and very lean. He’s never drunk. He’s like Samson – pure unadulterated by alcohol – without the long hair.
‘Oh it’ll be ok. You said the parents were there and they would be supervising. If you did have a glass of two – despite the fact that you’re under age – I’d stop at one or two really. Make that your limit, just nurse the bottle so you don’t feel out of it and don’t feel the pressure to get totalled’
‘Mmm’ he sounds doubtful.
‘One of the guys is going to run down the street naked’.
Memories of Varsity pub crawls and naked guys throwing themselves in the duck pond and suffering duck itch in unusual places for weeks later..
Oh and then that memory of a friend’s baby being born nine months later, so she struggled through medical school breastfeeding her babe.
‘Err.. that could be quite funny really. I mean no harm done. So if you did have a drink or two and if you did find that you were keen to.. well.. um..’ (he doesn’t have a girlfriend but he does have hormones. And we all know what drink does to intensify hormones in the young male of the species!)
He looks confused.I’m quietly dying. But I have to give ‘the talk’. It’s my job. I’m the parent.
‘If you found that you made a mistake and wanted to sleep with a girl….shall I get you some condoms?’ I have friends who used to discretly put a packet of condoms in her sons’ drawers. That would mean going into the room, and eeeeewwww. Don’t want to go in there.
‘I’m just saying it does happen and I’d much prefer that you had a girlfriend and you got to know her as friends first and that anything that happened was because you really had feelings for her, but it does happen and becoming a dad at 17 could be a real career limitation…’
I am tying myself up in knots here, and Son has turned bright red.
‘What am I saying anyway. YOU should be asking me these questions.’
I don’t know what I’ve done in the parenting stakes. Somehow I’ve ended up with a caring kind loving son who wouldn’t dream of doing anything naughty. Did the whole divorce thing put too much weight on his young shoulders, as my parents’ divorce did to me at the same age?
Will he return from University with long hair, multiple studs through his nose and a ring through his John Hancock!?
He went to the ball, but not the after party. He reported that the girls looked very pretty but he was anxious to not stand on their long flowing gowns.
‘What’s that?’ I asked him pointing to a tell-tale red smudge on his cheek.
Bright red he replied.
‘It must be a zit or something. I better go up to bed’.
There was no sign of a zit on his fresh faced cheeks in the morning!
Image Flickr CC: patrickq