Well, if not nargles, then a nephew.
Two days ago, I came down to a clean living room. Not just cleaned up–also tidy, the way I like it. Pillows fluffed, coffee table clutter arranged just so. Only, I didn’t do it. When my nephew emerged from his bat cave for sustenance, I asked him about it and a sheepish “yes” and a grin was my answer.
What a kid.
Exactly two things terrified me about parenthood, and neither had to do with labor (despite the fact that I am a pain wimp). Potty-training and teens. I got over the potty-training era relatively unscathed and still freshly scented, so all that is left in my parental fear-box is the teen years. So when my sister called to see if we could homeschool our 14-year-old nephew for a while, we didn’t hesitate, but it wasn’t without a bit of fear and trembling on my part. A real teen. In my house. I had to find out answers to my burning questions, and fast! Do they really turn to dust if they wake before 10am? (If so, then why do public schools start at 7?) Have they really started having video game controllers surgically implanted in their arms, or is that just an urban legend? What is this rumor about pizza, garlic, and vampires really all about?
Turns out I had nothing to fear. (Except socks. I’m finding dirty socks in the oddest places. But, like the dust bunnies around here, they are relatively harmless as long as you don’t look them in the eye.) He is smart, funny, and articulate. He reasons well beyond a typical 9th grader, and his writing skills are truly amazing. He watches out for my kids, and tolerates all the questions and badgering of The Boy who looks up to him. I have to say that it has been great for The Boy to have a bigger Boy in the house.
Yesterday was a bad migraine day. Our landlord called and told me that he would be showing the house again, so I went into mad cleaning mode. I knew I was in trouble, but I couldn’t stop. I just prayed. When I came downstairs, my sweet nephew was cleaning up. He handed me Advil and a glass of water. If this is what the teen years hold for us, then I think we are going to be okay.