Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

Raising a Man

My son left today for a month. 26 days to be exact.

26 days.

It’s not the first time he’s been away from home. Every year since he was 9 he’s spent about a week away at camp. He spent 10 days this summer being a counselor at a camp he was invited to attend last year. He was invited back to be a counselor this summer. It’s a nice feather in his cap and definitely college resume worthy.

He left for those 10 days in June. It was hard but he’d been gone for 7 days straight before. It wasn’t much longer and I consoled myself with my lower grocery bill for those days. While he was gone he sent me a text or 23. As the end of his stay approached he sent me one and ended it with, “I love you Mom.” I immediately texted him back and told him I loved him too and appreciated him telling me. I was over the moon touched by his words via text message.

He was home for 10 days before he left again today. I let him get away with a lot of computer time knowing he was going to be gone for so long. He quickly did the chores I asked and never complained. That was new. He always did the chores I asked, not as quickly as I’d have liked, and often with the normal teenage angst. Eldest came home from those 10 days after being a counselor at National Youth Leadership Training slightly older and more worldly.

We went camping this weekend. We dry camped with the RV on a friend’s lake front property. Jet skis, tubing, fishing, and swimming filled the days with campfires and smores taking over the evenings. Eldest was a good sport about camping the last two nights before his next adventure – more so than I expected him to be. He engaged and had a blast with his friends and even entertained and helped his little sisters on the water.

Today dawned and I knew we only had a few more hours before he left. Dr. Evil and I decided Dr. Evil and Eldest would make the trip to Tomahawk while I kept the girls at the lake. We were only a bit south of camp and it was a straight shot north to drop him off. About 11:30 Eldest got off the jet ski and started to prep for his 12pm departure.

I admit it. I hovered. I hovered and asked what I could do to help. “Need anything to eat? Want me to fold that? Need a dry towel for your camp bag? Don’t forget your trunks are drying on the chair!” He tolerated and even seemed to appreciate it all.

I snuck a card into his pack. He opened the pack and saw it and asked what it was. I just smiled through the beginning of tears. He said, “I didn’t see anything. I’m sure there’s something I’ll find later.” I laughed and started gathering the last of his things.

I was tearing up. More than I expected. Way more than I expected. I kept my sunglasses on hoping to hide but a stray tear got me and Dr. Evil noticed. I told him I was sad even though I was so excited for the opportunities Eldest was going to have. Then Eldest noticed.

“Please stop crying Mom. You’re going to make me start crying.”

That. Did. Me. In.  I was surprised he was affected as much as I was. I’m not sure when I forgot he’s still a kid. He is on his way to being a man but he’s just barely 15. And I’ll take every second of him still being a kid. We’ll be friends when he’s much older because right now my job is to be mom. But these rare glimpses into what our future relationship may be are amazing.

I pulled myself together, demanded two more hugs, and sent him on his merry way. I dried up my tears and went to play with the girls and enjoy the last hours on the lake.

I can’t wait to see him. IMG_8111


  1. I’ve got your back, girlfriend. Call if you need me.

  2. Being the mom of a “young man” is quite amazing. Sure, we still think of them as our little boys, and sometimes they themselves are still mama’s boys…. but being the mother of a YOUNG MAN, is also really cool. Boys never stop loving their mamas. Mine have gotten so much nicer and accommodating, the older they’ve gotten. They are 17 and 21 now… one a senior in high school, the other a senior in college. There will be much reflection and many tears in the upcoming year, but when I start getting all sentimental and wistful, I’ll still have the 16 yr old girlchild to snark something at me and pull me back into reality!

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