Like most modern families, we were watching Tosh.O recently, waiting for a teaching moment to come along. It was a short wait. Our friend on the TV mentioned “spooning.” My son, with all of 14.75 years under his belt, spoke up.
“Snuggling,” said his stepdad quickly.
“Oh,” my son said with a confused look on his face. “I thought it was….”
I stepped in at that point.
“Well, actually, it can lead to….” I said, voice trailing off as I got ‘The Look’ (head tilt, one eyebrow raised) from my husband. I adjusted. “But, it can just be platonic also.” At this point, it’s all platonic for him, I believe, from a practical standpoint, that is. Additionally, thanks to my word choice, he’d probably think we were now talking about the lovable, long-eared dog from Disney. Spooning is hugging your dog. We’re good to go now.
The next day, the expected happened: my son used his new vocabulary word in a sentence; it was both innocent and inappropriate and I found it very, very funny.
“I’m taking Jackson to get that milkshake I owe him,” my husband said.
“And then we’re gonna spoon,” my son said, big grin spreading across his face.
We all froze. I laughed first, and was soon joined by my son.
“Oh my god, Jackson, we’re not going to spoon!” said my deeply horrified husband.
“Ahhh, that’s sweet!” I said.
“Mom, can three people spoon?”
Finally, somebody said something.
“Oh….my….god…..” I yelled, gasping for breath, laughing and snorting all at the same time.
14-year old boys.
There is an end to 14-year old boyness. It’s not adulthood. It’s not childhood; it’s the overlapping time period between the two. It’s running around and splashing in a pool with buddies, oblivious to everything but the game they’re playing one second, and waiting impatiently for the right girl to text them the next. It’s the mingling of these two phases that creates the common area where both creatures dwell, at least for a time, like a Venn diagram personified. As the boy fades away, the young man comes into sharper focus, one moment at a time.
It isn’t only fathers of 14-year old boys who can recognize the familiarity and the duality of this stage of life. For while fathers once lived it, mothers, as young women, were studying them. Carefully.
In the two pivotal months between junior high and high school, my son’s friends, after often spending all day in our pool, would end up staying overnight. I liked knowing they were together, under my roof. After they were finished in the pool for the last time, usually around 10 p.m., they’d disappear behind the door to my son’s room, surfacing only for food or an occasional trip to the bathroom. A PS3 marathon then generally carried them into the pre-dawn hours.
I’d find them mid-morning, lined up three or four across the bed, snoozing in a fog of morning breath, feet hanging off the bed, controls still near their hands. They would be in their clothes from the night before.
Should one of them shift, even slightly, they’d be spooning.
Photo by Lisa Lucke – All Rights Reserved