It must be rough being the guinea pig oldest child. Not that I know this first-hand. I’m the perfect number 3. The happy medium. But all of those experimental first children have to live through their parents’ mistakes and ignorance. It happened to our oldest yesterday. It was supposed to be the day that Judah got his driver’s license, but because we’ve never done this before, (ie- we didn’t know what in the world we were doing and the lady on the phone… could have been a little clearer) we got him there too late and he wasn’t even able to take the test.
What’s worse? Honestly failing a driver’s test? Or taking a meaningless trip to get your license only to be turned away because you’re too late? Either way you’re coming back to school without a driver’s license. What nonsense.
You can bet that the rest of our kids won’t have to deal with this kind of low-grade parenting when they’re ready to drive. We’ll know the routine by then. I will say that Judah has a much better attitude about the whole thing that I would have.
Second children fall through the cracks sometimes too. Like, for instance, Wesley’s kindergarten graduation. The year Wesley was ready for kindergarten was the year we discovered that people named Ruthie Voth were not created to be homeschool moms. So Judah and Wesley started school at the same time. Kindergarten and second grade. It was great. They did well, and at the end of the year we were told that Judah was supposed to be at graduation to receive an award. That was the only reason our family even showed up for graduation.
Imagine my surprise when we arrived at the school and found out that graduation night is a big deal and not just for the seniors. The 8th graders and kindergarteners (including my own son!) were also graduating.
My kid graduated from kindergarten in blue jeans.
In retrospect, I think it might have been nice if someone at the school had mentioned a few graduation details to us. Just a few basic facts. For instance: Your child is going to be graduating from kindergarten in a public ceremony on Friday evening. Dress him in something presentable and bring a camera. In my defense, I was a public school kid – I had no idea how graduation works at small private schools.
But we’re not snazzy dressers on the best of days, so our pride wasn’t wounded too deeply. Wesley was 6 years old and comfortable. He couldn’t have cared less that his best friend was dressed in a suit while he looked like he had been intercepted on his way to story time at the local library by someone saying, “Here, little boy. Walk across this stage and accept a diploma signifying a year’s worth of your hard work. Congratulations on learning to read.”
This is the same kid who, at 14, walked out of the house in the outfit pictured here and said: “Why do dress clothes have to be so uncomfortable?”
I don’t think he was scarred by the trauma of his overly casual kindergarten graduation. It probably just encouraged him.
By the time Wesley graduates from 8th grade in May, we’ll have been to JC Penney to throw away some good money on a dress shirt and tie and some nice pants for him. He’s going to look sharp. He may never wear the clothes again after graduation, but he’ll look good when it matters.
I know this because I learned these things from Judah, my guinea pig son.
The one who set a mouse trap beside my alarm clock last night. And yes, even though I caught him in the act; I knew it was there… it got me. This is what you get when you raise up an oldest son. Some days you make his life uncomfortable; some days he makes your life uncomfortable.
It’s a glorious adventure, raising boys.