Lighten up: Texts my son sends
But he does.
I know this, because I can see his text messages on my iPad. He also wouldn’t be happy about that, if he knew. But he doesn’t yet. And I can.
My son. We call him the Hobo because he generally dresses like a miniature homeless man, and - at age 10 - he makes it his stealthy mission to avoid any sort of personal hygiene.
He received an iPod touch for his recent hobo birthday, and downloaded free texting software that he can use on wifi.
Now, please understand: I don’t go around reading my kids’ text messages. I try to - repeatedly. But they lock their screens.
The other night, while searching Pinterest for Mason jar uses, the iPad pinged with a weird new notification, saying I had messages. I touched the weird thing, and there - in all their glory - were the text communications between my son and his “girlfriend.”
I soon figured out that since the Hobo’s iPod is linked to my iTunes account, his texting app appeared on my device. With messages intact.
Mommy - 1, Hobo - 0.
The “girlfriend” in question is my daughter’s good friend, and I’ll call her “Lily”, to protect the “innocent.” And because I like the name “Lily” and it’s my “dang column.”
Lily’s a polite, beautiful, popular, 15-year-old, so it’s very easy to imagine why someone like her would want to date my 10-year-old son. He’s handsome and sweet and sometimes brushes his teeth without threats. Why, just a few months ago, he showered voluntarily. Not only that, he’s very smart and has tons and tons of interests, ranging all the way from “Call of Duty: Black Ops” to “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.”
I first noticed the look of mischief/ love in Lily’s eye a few weeks ago, when she walked through the door after school with my daughter, the Princess.
“Hiiiiiiiii cutie,” said Lily, sashaying over to give him a hug.
He didn’t return her affections. Didn’t even glance up from his iPod. Very busy, you know - crucial “Call of Duty” missions.
The girls giggled and thumped up the stairs.
“I think she likes you!” I told him.
His brows shot up, but he didn’t raise his eyes. “I know she does.”
So, after that frank expression of undying affection, you can imagine my curiosity when I found texts like these on the iPad:
Lily: Is this my boyfriend?
Hobo: Yes. ;(
The adoration! It’s palpable. He likes her - you can tell by this . . . what is this?
A sad face? A wink? A sa-wink?
Read on, another day, as Lily checks in:
Lily: Hey babe!
Hobo: OK quit I’m going to school bye
Good boy. Education first. But still, unmistakable devotion to his girl, no? In this next excerpted text, he stays true to school. And stuff:
Hobo: OK I’m doing something else
Hobo: Getting ready for school
Lily: When is your school?
Hobo: Plus I’m playing video games it starts at 9:00
Lily: You have plenty of time!
Hobo:Mybusleavesat8Ijust woke up!
Priorities, Lily! One must have an hour before school to play video games and completely avoid grooming. Everybody knows that. The tension builds between the lovebirds:
Lily: Did you miss me Tuesday?
Hobo: If it makes you sleep at night
Lily: Haha oh we need to work on you
Hobo: OK I’m dong something else
Well, as you can imagine, sadly - and not unexpectedly - Lily soon tires of the Hobo’s occasional inattentiveness, and it all comes to a head. She’s had enough.
Lily: WE ARE BREAKING UP
Lily: WE ARE BACK TOGETHER
Hobo: Whatever I don’t care
Lily: Wow okay
Reunited, and it feels so good? I can’t tell. What just happened there, and what in the name of Spongebob Squarepants will happen next?
Will Lily get her Hobo? Will he make it to school on time? Will he EVER voluntarily take a shower?
We will never know - I don’t plan to publish any more texts. The truth is, I questioned whether or not to publish this series. But it was so cute - and relatively harmless. I couldn’t resist.
Mother of the Year, right here.
I also checked with Lily’s mom first - I wanted to be sure it was OK, because the girl is a doll. Sweet and kind, she loves kids - wants to be a pediatrician someday - and she teases my boy with good intentions, because it secretly makes him happy. Deep down, I think he quite enjoys having a beautiful girl flirt with him.
What hobo doesn’t enjoy the attentions of a pretty woman?
But he’s not ready.
I saw it again this past weekend, the lack of ‘ready,’ as the Princess and I stopped at Victoria’s Secret with the Hobo in tow. He was lost - without his iPod to stare at - and he spun around in circles, trying to avoid looking at anything.
Bras! Ahh! Teddies! Ahhhhh! Thongs! AHHHHHHH!
Poor kid. Everywhere he turned - AHHHHHH! - and finally, declaring himself “scarred for life,” he ran and stuck his head into the safest place he could find - the very corner of the store.
No, he’s not ready.
That’s fine with me. I’m not ready, either.
That boy. He’s hygienically challenged. Can’t match his shirt and pants. Incapable of combing his hair.
But he’s also my baby, and if it was up to me, he’d be tiny again. The tears, the tantrums, the many, MANY nights sleeping on the hardwood floor beside his crib . . . I’d take it, I’d do it all again. I’d scoop him up, inhale him and keep him small, keep him with me.
Diapers, tears, tantrums and all.
I try, but I can’t stop time. There he is, a fast-growing little guy facing - quite unwillingly - the wall between boy and man. The texts and shopping trips prove it, and they make me laugh.
And sometimes I laugh to keep from crying.
But, no - I won’t read or publish anymore of the kids’ texts.
Unless they end up on my iPad . . .
Dawn Weber is a national award winning columnist, and a Brownsville wife and working mother of a teen and pre-teen.