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Sunday, August 28, 2016

When Does a Boy Become a Man?

Quite uncharacteristically, The Son (who used to be called Little Boy or Smelly Boy on this blog) announced that he had Saturday night dinner plans. This was odd. The Son normally has morning soccer plans or afternoon project plans. Saturday night plans are such a grown up thing and The Son hasn't quite grown up yet.

He got home close to midnight and our little family managed to catch some time together before bed. He came home rather uncharacteristically loquacious and rather red in the face. I noticed nothing amiss except that he seemed rather happy. Then, I crawled over him on the sofa to get at something and the smell of hard liquor hit me in the face.

Me: You drank?

The Son: Yeah!

Me: How much did you drink?

The Son: 2 glasses of wine and 3 shots of I dunno what with 45% alcohol.

Me: You are still standing?

The Son: Yeah! I am quite amazed that I can hold my liquor so well.

Ohhhhh... a plethora of thoughts crashed through my head. So many thoughts there were, that my brain froze. I didn't know what to say. Many of my male friends do drink but The Son is 15 years old and I have never thought of him as a man. In fact, when I look at him, I still see him in Pampers. Meanwhile, The Husband was beaming with pride. His son could hold his liquor well.

I had visions of my son coming out of a club half drunk and getting stabbed to death by hooligans who may have taken offence at something or other my innocent son did. What if my son raped someone else's daughter when he is drunk? So I cut through a Father's pride and said, "If ever you get drunk, make sure you don't rape anybody!"

This startled my son. He explained that he was having dinner at P's house with 15 other boys. It was a   sort of farewell for the Express stream boys who would soon be taking O levels. The good thing about ACS Independent is that an intricate network of friendships bind the Express stream and the IP streams together. This was the last party before the Express boys turn their focus on intensive mugging for the O levels. The IP boys wanted to encourage their Express stream friends.

P's house has an extensive wine collection and a fully stocked bar. Classical music streamed through speakers and the boys played bridge amidst mahogany wood panels and plush leather sofas. "It was not uncivilised drinking Mom," The Son assured me. It was all very polite and elegant. My jaw dropped. Wow! Mahogany wood panels and then I looked around at the bare cream walls of my own house... 

I kept quiet.

Then, I said, "You need to hydrate yourself to dilute the alcohol in the bloodstream." The son replied, "I know that. I have been drinking water all night."

Wow... he knew that? My 15 year old already knew that. I went all quiet again.

Then, he said, "Mom, if you are not comfortable that I drink, please let me know. I won't do it if you are uncomfortable."

What a blessed son! I wasn't sure what to say because my male friends drink and if I don't object to them drinking, why can't my son drink? I sort of made some confused noises and then I objected, "What if you drink in a pub and get attacked? What if you drink so much that you become an alcoholic?"

Then my blessed son said, "Mom, I promise you that I will only drink at private parties until I reach the legal age. These occasions will be few and far between. We cannot always be hanging out at P's house to drink his Dad's whiskey. Besides, my shooting seniors have advised me to drink in moderation because over drinking interferes with our ability to hold the gun steady. This was social drinking. I don't like alcohol and will not drink alone."

I looked at my son and registered the words... "social drinking", "moderation" and "will not drink alone". Then it struck me that my son, at 15, seemed to have the wisdom of an adult male. Then, I figured that if (at 15 years) he is mature enough to be selected for a full-time research internship in a research lab, then he is mature enough to hold his liquor.

However, I am just a little sad. My Little Boy is really really gone. I can't imagine him in Pampers anymore.


Malar said...

You're so cute Petunia!
Your son is a real blessing child! ;)

Petunia Lee said...

Malar - many many thanks! I think his school has done a great job in the past 3.5 years. The school's influence in the teen years is greater than mine.