Julian turned SIXTEEN on October 7th.
This last year felt like a negotiation. As someone who grew up in conservative evangelical churches, training for parenting doesn't include negotiation. I heard a lot of messages about authority...laying down expectations and demanding they be done or face consequences. But each kid has their own thoughts, desires, inclinations, hopes, and wills. All of that needs to be taken into consideration as we form our expectations. Therein lies the negotiation.
Last year, Julian was telling us more about who he was becoming and we tried to listen. We negotiated his level of church participation, academic and extra curricular expectations, and what our role as his parents should be in the next few years.
It feels like we emerged with a peace agreement.
He was always such a silly, easy going, no nonsense kid. We would occasionally see his temper. These days we are seeing more emotional and creative sides of him. It's a privilege to watch.
Julian managed girls tennis in the spring and played tennis in the fall. He is taking piano lessons once a week and playing trumpet in the Shortridge band. He has worked on crew for the theatre productions, and this year he tried out for the musical and got a part! Most nights, we can hear him upstairs lifting weights.
He has a group of friends that attend various high schools. They make plans to see movies, go to the zoo and baseball games, and have sleepovers. They support each other well. He credits them sometimes for his well being, and I wonder "what about those awesome parents you have?"
This story makes me laugh. Julian had Spanish in middle school so as a freshman he took a placement test which put him in Spanish 2. He breezed through the class. At the beginning of his sophomore year, he found himself in a Spanish 3 class. He felt immediately intimidated because he was one of the only non-native speakers in the class. I took a little joy in him finding himself challenged at school. He wasn't so sure, and ended up asking the teacher if he could be put back into Spanish 2. He confessed that the placement test he took was a Google doc with a translate button... which he utilized...so maybe he really shouldn't be a year ahead. His teacher told him she couldn't put him back in a class he had easily passed last year! Oh, the natural consequences!
He's done great, though, in Spanish 3 and all his other classes. He's up and on the redline to school before anyone else in the house is awake. He's doing his own laundry these days and learning to drive. He got his permit in September. He has emerged from middle school a responsible kid.
And funny. He's always sending me a good meme. He doesn't have a sense of humor about me taking his picture, though. If I ask him to smile, I get a kind of I-hate-you look. He still looks handsome, though.