This year, it was about anxiety.
After some too-public parenting and a minor diversion home and back to Sturbridge this past weekend, I can say that yet another event has taught me yet another set of lessons.
- Adolescents do not think clearly and will not tell you what is going on except under duress. Expect tears.
- Keep the kid busy.
- First aid help exists, use it.
- Pack Gatorade.
- Bed sacks increase warmth and comfort immensely.
The Young Mr, seen above in Full Pout Mode, had a roiling head full of anxiety made worse by heat and dehydration, for which he refused water and the suggestion of luxuriating in the air conditioned splendor of the upholstered sofette in the lobby of the Bullard Tavern. He made it through one activity and then I took him home because he felt so unwell, complaining of a headache and a stomach ache and feeling hot and then cold that I thought he was really ill. (We’ve had some tense “will-he-or-won’t-he puke-in-my-purse” train rides home, so I tend to overreact.)
Not until Auburn and a large bottle of Gatorade later, when suddenly his stomachache and headache were gone, did I figure out that it was mild heat exhaustion and anxiety, not flu or something worse. And then realized I could have taken him to the first aid station instead of home. But, once home, after a nap and a fight and a dish of curry, he’d promised to go back up on Sunday, which was much better.
Again, he got to serve as ensign and carry the colors, marching behind the guys as they sang their way through the village. But somehow, Sunday, everything seemed better than it had the day before, when he hadn’t told me how much he fears the start of high school, and how worried he is about his future. No more reading the New York Times for him…
This isn’t the costume or action report you might want, but living history with an adolescent is challenging. The Young Mr is just too young to field (he’s only 14 but almost 15) and he doesn’t want to be a drummer. It’s a challenge to find things that he can legally and safely do that integrate him into the unit of guys, which is what he really craves. Perhaps it’s because he gets to try out what it’s like to be a man, while still being a boy.