Mar 092011

…The Director turned sixteen yesterday.

As always, he wanted to have his party at his favorite pizza restaurant. When he was little, parties tended to consist of parents, grandparents, and sometimes a friend near his own age.

This year, he had three of his friends from high school at the party. The adults (and older brother) sat off to the side and talked among themselves, while the birthday boy and his crew discussed video games and gadgets. They demolished most of the birthday cake, and gathered around to be impressed at the gigantic modular toy gun one of his friends had gotten him. It shoots foam darts and lights up, and is actually three different guns that can be snapped together to form a single gun.

They were all dying to see it in action. “Can we take it outside and try it out?” asked one of his friends.

At first, a decade of Mommy habit rose up and I started to demur—playing outside, next to a parking lot? Unsupervised?

Then common sense stepped in, and I told my son, “If you can’t handle a parking lot at sixteen, there’s no hope for you. Go have fun.”

So they did. They swarmed in and out a few times, reading the directions on the box and collaborating on how to make the gadget work. It was a complete guy-fest. They had a ball.

Two of his friends were dropped off by their parents. The third drove himself there. My son has peers who can drive. If he would get off his ass and sign up for driver’s ed, he would be driving.

Be afraid.

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