There is a certain amount of freedom that naturally comes with becoming a teenager. It’s a freedom that I grapple with now that Cole is thirteen. In many ways he’s ready for things like going to the movies or parties with friends, without parents, yet it’s simply not possible for him to have the kind of independence most of his friends are starting to enjoy.
He needs to have someone there who can support his needs and sometimes participation in activities. Amazing as his tribe of friends are, there are those times when the kids flit about a space, not thinking to push him along.
It’s not their responsibility, nor is it an expectation, but it’s one of the reasons he needs support. His personal needs also require someone to support him. Much as he reels against it, he needs someone with him who can help.
To his mind, this someone should blend in and not be intrusive. This someone needs to be cool. This someone should NOT be his mom or dad. To my mind, this someone needs to be a responsible, attentive adult, be it a young adult. This someone can be cool. That’s okay with me. This someone needs to recognize that they’re with Cole to ensure that his needs are met and that he’s accessing a situation as best he can. I’m less concerned about this someone enjoying the outing, though I know from experience, Cole and his tribe are fun to be around and it’s likely that this someone will have an okay, even good time.
The time has come where we need to find “this someone”.
Cole was invited to nighttime Bat Mitzvah celebration for a pair of twin sisters whom he’s friendly with. It’s likely most of the 7th grade were invited, so he really wants to go to the party, and absolutely doesn’t want to go with one of his parents. I completely understand. I don’t even take offense when he gets frustrated if I have to walk him into school some mornings. (Typically his paraprofessional will meet him in the parking lot so he doesn’t have to be seen with his dad or me.) I try to remind him that I’m one of the cool moms but it doesn’t fly with him.
I’m just not sure whom the right person is to take him to the party. He’s going to want to dance out of his wheelchair so we’ll need strength to support his smooth dance floor moves.
He’s going to want to chat up girls and hangout with his friends, so he’ll need someone who understands to give him a little space. He’s going to feel a little nervous too, as teenage boys are apt to feel around oodles of teenage girls in their fancy dresses and finery, so he’ll need someone who can boost his confidence a little bit.
The one thing I do know is that I want him to dance and flirt and enjoy the freedom of being a teenager at a grand party with his fabulous friends, creating memories together.
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