Every Day Is a Story – Miniature Golf and Turning 18 · 24 July 2009

It seems that every day contains some great story. I probably should be writing them down before I forget them. Then again, I would have a hard time separating the wheat from the chaff simply because of my attachment to the people in the stories. Even so, vacations provide many good stories and I would be remiss if I did not at least tell a few more of the stories that were lived on our most recent trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s.

Thing 1 turned eighteen when we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s. With such a milestone in life, it is customary to do something special. Naturally, we went to play miniature golf.

I must digress here a moment to express my confusion about adolescence. Or at least about my own teenager. Thing 1 seems to have been going through adolescence since he was about 11. The moodiness and mouthiness and being too big for his britches attitude came on too early in my estimation. I had hoped that meant it would leave early too. A few times, I even thought I saw the light at the end of the teenage tunnel. But alas, it was merely a freight train each time. Which is why I have not been so enthusiastic recently when I again thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thing 1 has been almost cheery the past few weeks. Perhaps it is that he will be entering his senior year of high school next year and he wants what could be his last year at home to be a pleasant one. Or perhaps (hopefully) it is that he really is exiting adolescence. Regardless of the reason, Thing 1 has been a pleasure to live with. When we first started talking about it, he did not really have much reaction to our vacation plans (a nod of approval from the teenage perspective). Then, he gave the most enthusiastic response to the question of how the boys all enjoyed Silverwood (a trip that was actually taken the day after we went miniature golfing). He has even been smiling more than I have seen in quite some time.

A few weeks ago, I was attributing this new behavior to the end of school. Then, I thought maybe it was more sleep. But I think that Thing 3 is almost done with being a teenager. He has matured to the point where he can show childlike excitement again. As ironic as that might seem.

Thing 1 is a great son and fantastic sibling. He does more than tolerate his two younger brothers. And instead of being the anchor that we had to drag around the miniature golf course, he was the one taking pictures of houses and windmills along the course. He was the one with the big toothy grin on his face. He was eighteen and enjoying his family without a care in the world for what anybody thought. True, we were in a town where nobody knew him, but I think that light might truly be the end of the adolescent tunnel this time.

Part of the reason that I think the end of the tunnel is near is because of the way Thing 1 enjoyed being with his family on our little vacation. He relished miniature golf and the small birthday celebration we had that evening. He has always loved family gatherings but he is really enjoying the simple things again. And even though it is probably a completely different story that I must write, I believe my boy is leaving adolescence because he even gave me a real hug in front of his buddies when I dropped him off for football camp the other day. Hopefully, gone are the days when he gets out of the car without even a wave.

I suppose that this story has been less about miniature golf and more about my teenager growing up. I suppose that it has more to do with seeing the irony of being more grown up so that you can act young again and be excited by the little things. I suppose that it is really about being proud of my kids.

Regardless of the true subject of this story, we all had a great time playing miniature golf. The mother whipped everybody’s tushes (she would say, “Naturally”) and we had a nice birthday dinner and cake afterward. Maybe not the eighteenth birthday every teenager dreams of but fitting for ours. Dinner, cake, miniature golf, and family. Sounds like the ideal birthday celebration at any age. And a nice ending to a family story.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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