- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sitting here contemplating Jimmy’s upcoming 13th birthday, you might think I’m wistfully recalling the moment of his birth back in 1994. He arrived a month ahead of schedule after a grueling and tenuous pregnancy, so every year I allow myself a brief reflection of the arrival of my only son.

But no, that’s not what’s on my mind.

Perhaps this milestone prompts thoughts about my swiftly passing motherhood journey. It might seem logical to take stock of my own advancing age now that three of my four children are teens.

But no. There’s no point dwelling on your unsightly purple veins.

It’s an important birthday and yet no philosophical thoughts crowd my mind. No nostalgia. No profound reflections. Only the fervent wish that Jimmy would make up his mind about his birthday party.

I can’t figure out what his problem is. It’s not as if I haven’t offered options.

Option A: A traditional party with Jimmy’s favorite friends. This would include the guys from the summer basketball team plus his best pal from the neighborhood. Pizza. Cake. A water fight. Staying up late night with the PlayStation game in the basement and sleeping bags all over the floor. Pancakes for breakfast. Thanks for coming. Nothing to it.

Option B: A family birthday celebration. He picks the restaurant, he picks the movie, he picks the ice cream parlor. His sisters promise to behave kindly for the entire evening. Collared shirt optional.

So far, the choices are fairly clear cut.

But what’s this? Mom throws in the element of surprise.

Option C: Girls. Since this is his 13th birthday, I allow as how several good friends happen to be of the female persuasion. Suppose we invite a few guys and girls, pile the gang into the van and head to a water park?

I don’t want to rush Jimmy into focusing on girls, nor do I believe any 13-year-old boy ever needs to be encouraged by his mother to notice them in the first place. I just thought it would be courteous of me to offer this as a choice out of respect for his new status as a teenager.

But Jimmy is stumped.

I can’t see how this is a complicated decision. If you choose Option A, you get a bunch of gift cards to the local sporting goods store, but you have a big mess to clean up the morning after the party.

If you choose Option B, your entire family benefits and we’re all really nice to you for a few days because we know you basically sacrificed your birthday so that we could have a nice night out.

Story Continues →