Fall Weekends at the Lake

October 02, 2021

I took Henry back to KC on August 5 after seven weeks with me at the lake this summer. It was an emotional transition, but I've experienced a lot of those in the past 18 months. It's been interesting to get comfortable with the emotions that surface during transitions.

Since then, Henry and I have settled into an "every other weekend" rhythm. He continues to want to come to the lake. And it's been fulfilling to watch him mature during his own transition into high school.

For instance...

Henry has gained a lot of confidence driving.  He has quickly gone from not wanting a license/car/driving to now he wants a car.  He has been driving to/from KC/Lake each of the four weekends.  He can easily drive on the highway for 3hrs.  And he is learning the nuances that are required for him to be on his own behind the wheel.

Smoothie King unveils new summer flavors and ingredients – The Vanderbilt  Hustler

Henry has joined the working world.  He's two weeks into a job at Smoothie King.  He works a five-hour shift after school.  Still trying to figure out the flow he likes, but it sounds like he can have the job as long as he wants.  And I'm optimistic he will stick with it.  At $10.30/hour, he will likely make $150/week.  As we talked about yesterday, that money will add up quickly if he saves it.  After a year, that's $7,500.  And with that kind of savings/income, he can definitely have a car.  He'll have a restricted license for driving to school & work by next summer.

Henry has stepped away from Xbox.  I admittedly was one of the countless parents who didn't know what to do with our children's fascination with gaming.  Henry has lived on Xbox for the past three years.  I eventually decided to let it play out.  He told me yesterday what I have always suspected...it was a way for him to hang out with "friends".  It was never about the games.  And now he seems uninterested in that approach to friends.  He seems to be much more interested in real-world friends.  He says he never gets on Xbox anymore.  He didn't want to bring it to the lake.  And he isn't sure he wants a computer for gaming either.  We'll see where this goes.

Henry has made some new friends.  He is investing time in activities like football games.  He brought Chris down to the lake two weekends ago, and he asked several people to join him this weekend but none could make it.  He wants to bring friends down again this fall.  I keep thinking he will be done with the lake as fall sets in and the water is too cold, but so far he is still coming.

Henry has been doing his schoolwork, but he doesn't like it.  Right now English is especially hard.  We may get his reading tested.  I've come to the conclusion that Henry will need a lot of space to navigate these life decisions around education, and he may choose a "non-traditional" approach.  More and more parents are starting to understand the failure of the US education system and the need to give their children more freedom to opt out.

Henry has been recognizing the need to be more mature and make better choices.  It's a slow process for a 15-year-old.  I'm reminded to have lots of patience.  For instance, he didn't take very good care of my bike.  It is now in the shop awaiting $250 in repairs.  Ugh.  But he will learn from it.

He is still very young but is acting more like an 18-year-old.  I suspect he wants the independence of an 18-year-old, but that won't happen right now.  I'm glad he is stepping into it, and he probably will be so far ahead of most kids when the time does come for him to be more independent.

There are more areas where maturity will eventually show up in his life.  I suspect he is interested in girls, and it will only be a matter of time before he starts dating.  For me, I wanted to date as soon as 7th grade, but was too scared until 11th grade.  I doubt Henry will wait as long as I did.  My life changed dramatically once Darci and I started dating.  It was a major step forward for me.

And therapy will be important to help him process all that happened to him.  Not only has his family life been ripped away from him in 2020, but he was overwhelmed in 2016 by the parental conflict between Heidi and me.  It built up over his lifetime and he had enough.  Every kid has stuff to deal with, and Henry has more than his fair share.  Therapy has been so valuable to me.  I wouldn't be where I am without it.  Hopefully, Henry will drop his stubborn resistance and courageously step into a therapy situation.  He has so much to process.

So, will this be the last weekend Henry is at the lake this year?  I kind of doubt it.  He seems to be posturing for one or two more weekends.  We'll see.  Regardless, I'm grateful for the 7-week summer and these four fall weekends so far.  It is way more than I thought I would get.  And, when Henry is ready to anchor into a full-time KC routine for the school year, I've got lots of exciting opportunities ahead of me.  More to come on those!