Thursday, October 1, 2009

Now We are Fifteen

Right now there are 5 teenage boys in our travel trailer (otherwise known as the infamous sardine can). My baby turned 15 yesterday - and after a sci-fi marathon in our den - I kicked them out to the can to sleep. Ellie is teaching piano lessons this morning and didn't need 5 unconscious boys scattered about the room....

Just a moment ago I read back over the "Now We are Fourteen" post from last year. In addition to being frickin' hilarious (remember the philosophical Bumper Boat Boy from the arcade????) - it made me a little sad.

Last year I blogged about how Joel and Jules (the Joels) were inseparable. About how Joel (then 14) wouldn't consider having a party without Jules (then 10). Well, this year? Jules was not in the picture. He is often in the picture - but last night he wasn't. Joel and Friends were watching movies Jules isn't allowed to see (we are weird that way - with the violent movies and all) and so Jules went to a friend's house. Gulp. But Jules was okay. He understood it wasn't personal. It was just Joel wanting to watch movies for his birthday that Jules couldn't see. But I was sad. I was sad that the line has been crossed between the two of them. I was really really really a little bit sad.

The phone rang around 10:00. It was Jules. He sounded as if he had been crying or something, which really isn't like him.

"What's wrong?" I said.

"You know Joel's video camera? I took it to Ian's without asking him," Jules confessed.

Oh Boy. I knew what was coming next.

"We broke it."

And then I blew it.

"You WHAT? Why did you take it? Jules, that thing was EXPENSIVE."

"I know! Will you buy him another one?"

"No, of course not!"

Silence. Except for the fact that I could hear Jules' mind whirring away. Jules cannot let go of things. When he begins "thinking" about something, he simply can't stop. I knew immediately that I needed to try and help him stop the loop before it got out of hand. I tried a calmer approach. I told him that worrying about it wouldn't fix the camera. I told him it had been an accident. He assured me he had learned his lesson and I believed him. But then the looping started. Although undiagnosed, we are pretty dang sure this kid has mild Asperger's. He gets in mind-loops and can't get out of them.

"I can't believe I broke it....." over and over.

We hung up. The phone rang again.

"I can't believe I broke it...."

Oh no. I was going to have to go get him. There was no way he was going to be able to calm down and go to bed with the loop thing going.

Joel came out and was like, "What's up? Who's calling?"

I hadn't wanted to tell him about the camera at his party - but I did.

"Jules took your video camera to Ian's and they broke it."

And Joel's face fell. And just as I was about to tell him not to freak, that Jules didn't mean to do it, that he was really upset.....Joel said, "Oh man. Is he okay?" The face was about his brother. Not the camera. Because he knows his brother well enough to know that this was going to be a very upsetting thing for him. And my heart just swelled, you know? Because no line has really been crossed between the two. There is a strong, unbreakable bond going on.

Joel called Jules. He used his own brand of comfort to calm down him down. It wasn't the words I would have chosen - but they were the perfect words for the brothers.

"Dude - don't pee your pants over this in front of everybody, okay? We'll fix it or something. Have fun and I'll see you tomorrow."

The phone didn't ring again.

So being 15 seems to mean a lot of things. It is a pulling-away and a holding-tighter type of a thing.....apparently.....between all of us.

Happy Birthday to "Sweet Baby". He is a fine young man. If I do say so myself.
And I do.

Proud Sardine Mama


  1. That is sooo sweet. And cool too. Way to go Joel!

  2. Oh my goodness. I almost never cry over blog posts, but I'm crying over that one. You should be one proud mama for the man you are raising. Good job!