The Boys Are Back In Town

I can see them but they can’t see me, my teenage stepsons who just arrived with their father a few minutes ago and are sitting outside on the deck. They’re on spring break and will be here for the week. Time to dust off my mothering skills and get to it.

They both tower over me now, my once small boys who’d crawl on my lap and tell me stories or watch TV. Now they lay sprawled on the couch and overstuffed chair playing hand-held video games. I wish we had a Wii. I’d so love to kick their butts in bowling.

Clarion University’s spring break was a few weeks ago, so their father must work while we play. This is one of the few perks of freelancing. Since I set my own schedule, I decided the boys and I will head out of Dodge and go to da’burgh to see their niece, sisters and brother-in-law for a few days.

Our car trips are always memorable. On our last trip, I introduced them to the songs “Love Stinks” and “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.” Now the new AT&T GoPhone commercial makes sense to them.

We’re always singing something while Kevin plays air guitar or air drums. Problem is, he doesn’t realize how tall and lanky he’s become. If he’s in the front seat, his arms flail into my driving space and in the back, he kicks the back of my seat like he did when he was little. He doesn’t mean to and always apologizes with an “Oops. Sorry.” accompanied by a short deep giggle. I’m still not used to his voice change.

Car time is also a good time to just catch up and laugh. We email and talk on the phone in between visits, but when we get to see each other for real, and especially when I get them alone in a moving vehicle in which they can’t escape, I ask the most detailed questions I can. On the phone, they grunt answers to their father’s questions, but they know I need plain English. Tuesday we’ll talk about school and their friends, but I think mostly I’ll ask them about what girls are in their lives, both as friends and as possible more-than-friends. They’ll blush, but I can usually get them to talk.

And if I can’t, their sisters can.

A highlight this week for their dad will be taking Andy out driving. Andy will get his permit soon and his license later this summer. I realize he’s 16 and very tall, but to see him behind the wheel of a car? I’m not sure I’m ready for that. He might even want to go to prom this year. Yikes! Good lord, I’ll be a wreck when he graduates from high school in 2010. You’d think I birthed the boy. Sometimes it feels like it, I’ve known him almost as long.

The week will no doubt go by too fast. There will be fart jokes and booger jokes and I’ll have to remind them to use Kleenex and to not throw their underwear in a wad in the corner of their bedroom. But as I’ve said in past blogs, as stressful as it can be at times, I love our little two-thirds of a Brady Bunch stepfamily. I only wish we had our own Alice.

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