Life just got a lot simpler for me. Luke has reached the magic teenage years. I don’t have to worry about what’s cool, hip, “in,” boss, trendy, current or “happening.” He’s got me covered!

If I have an SEC football question, he’s faster and more accurate than ESPN and Google combined. He’s a walking encyclopedia on the best places to eat, Harry Potter, dogs, WWE wrestling, music, Jimmy Dean sausage, hockey sticks and how everyone ought to wear their hair.

I’m through forever with thinking on my own. No more late night deliberations over whether I prefer Coke or Diet Dr Pepper. I don’t have to guess between Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods. Complicated decisions are in my rearview mirror.

One shout-out to Luke and I’ve got all the answers.

He can tell how fast a train is traveling by the way the whistle blows. He can glance at a cloud and tell you what the weather is going to do for the next six weeks. He has the answer before you can get all of the question out…...

You talk about a typical thirteen year old!

And it drives his dad nuts. Which I kinda enjoy. I remember when his dad was thirteen…...and driving me nuts!

Luke is carrying on an old family tradition.

And I think it’s universal. There’s just naturally got to be a certain age when a young active mind has learned all it can hold—the pinnacle so to speak—before it starts wobbling off into old age.

If we had any sense in this country, we’d lower the age requirement for the presidency to thirteen. If AT&T, J. C. Penny and Amazon really wanted to make money, they’d find themselves a thirteen year old CEO. There is a reason you never see anybody that age on “Jeopardy.”

It is a burden to carry around all that knowledge at such a young age.

Of course, it didn’t seem that heavy when I was thirteen. Except maybe for my parents. They saw everything in black and white square boxes, all stacked up in neat rows. I saw things as a little more psychedelic, with swirls and curlicues and blurred lines and mixed imagines.

They listened to Tommy Dorsey and Rosemary Clooney. I liked Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. They believed “Gone With the Wind” was the only movie ever made. I was way more into “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

They crammed cauliflower and Brussels sprouts down my throat. I leaned more towards Hostess Twinkies and Necco Wafers. You can’t believe how many “Devil’s music” and “healthy nutrition” talks I suffered through around our dinner table.

And here is the crazy thing. I figured deep down they were probably right…..about most everything except Chuck and Jerry Lee. ’Course, I’d a’died a thousand deaths before I would have admitted that out loud.

I think the goal of every thirteen year old is to never let them see you sweat.

Maybe it’s in the “jeans.”

We didn’t necessarily want to be just like our parents. And we wanted some freedom. A little say-so. A grunt of attention. Some acknowledgement that we existed. A nod that we weren’t children anymore. Some affirmation that we counted.

And just maybe—I don’t want to shock anyone here—some of the “got to have all the right answers and be a bit different” shtick was to mask the insecurities and fears that ran rampant just beneath the surface. I’m telling you, there are some challenging years as we progress through life. None more so than that first teenage year!

Gosh, you’ve got to fit in! But that could contradict your independence. You need to express yourself. But if you do it too loudly or too often….nobody likes a dork. You cannot talk to your parents. You are afraid to talk to your peers. It never dawned on me at thirteen that anyone else in the world had ever felt “just like me”.

It was not an unhappy time. But it could be a bit like exploring Mt. Everest blindfolded in a bathing suit.

Of course, I’m not going to mention any of this to Luke. There is also the wonder of being a teenager. The expectations. The doubts. The growth. The shedding of youth. The everchanging emotions. The many revelations. The ah-ha moments. The first love.

I wouldn’t deprive Luke one second of it.

Plus, I might need some stock market advice…..

 

Respectfully,

 

Kes