It’s true what you’ve heard: SON, YOU STINK.

In almost every way (well, your inner-parts aside).

First, let’s just talk about your pits. They are rank. At least after a shower with soap they are… Nope. Still foul.

Don’t get me started on your football jersey. No amount of detergent will ever—I mean ever—remove the stench embedded in it. And the shoulder pads you wear under that??? Good God. Another level of dis-gus-ting.

I have a hard time even mentioning this one. I hope y’all didn’t just eat, cuz I’m going to GO there . . . 

The toilet.

Let me remind you, this personal throne was NOT intended to “save” your creations.

Don’t get me wrong, I know you are a busy kid. But seriously!? Once in a while, as a gift to your mother for, say, bringing you into this world, could you please take the extra two seconds to use the hardware conveniently located six inches from your shoulder? It’s a stretch, I know. But I think if you really set your mind to it, you might be able to reach.

And your room looks like a bomb exploded. There’s no sugar-coating it. No amount of dusting, vacuuming or cleaning can fix THAT. A stinky person inhabits it, therefore the rank resides there. Even your clean sheets mysteriously smell like steak fajitas fewer than six hours after coming out of the dryer. Or less. It’s a mystery to me.

At least your school clothes are fresh and clean. But, that can’t change the fact you re-use your PE clothes, stuffed and rolled in a damp bundle tossed in the bottom of your gym bag, buried under rotten yogurt and stale popcorn, and who knows what else.

The thing leaving me scratching my head is when I look into your eyes, I don’t see anything remotely resembling foul, dirty, or disgusting. It’s like the pits, butt and mouth don’t match the beautiful being sitting across from me at the dinner table (minus the ketchup all over your face).

You see, Son, here’s the thing: teenagers are weird. And you are one of them. Don’t worry. It’ll pass. But before it does, I want you to know. . . 

During this time, irrational emotions will surface in your heart and plummet into your gut without warning. There will be acne and body odor and other physiological weirdness. There will be mild flirtations, booty shorts, and full-blown geeked-out immaturity. There will be self-consciousness and questionable judgement. There will be more critical boundaries and more severe rules. There will be tons of mistakes, blunders, and epic flub-ups.

But there will also be moments of exploration, wisdom, freedom, and the ability to discover the passions that make you uniquely you. At times you may feel older and also feel like a kid, you are kind of both and kind of not. And that’s OK.

So for now, I will continue to fear there is no amount of toothpaste, deodorant, detergent or Lysol that can fix this. I guess I will just have to wait til you grow out of it, just like your Dad did.

Because when Dad takes off his combat boots and removes the socks he’s been wearing for three days  in a row . . . 

He smells amazing.

<sigh>

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Valli Vida Gideons

I am a military bride, who writes about raising kids with cochlear implants, military life, and other things from the heart. Unrelated but not irrelevant... I have a degree in journalism and wrote my first short story in second grade about a walking/talking sponge; I've been an exercise instructor since my teen years (Flashdance sweatshirts, leg warmers and vinyl records to prove it); and may have been an extra on the vintage 90's hit, Beverly Hills 90210 (proof still found on VHS tapes). I got hypothermia in my first marathon at mile 25.5, but went on to kick butt the next six times I toed the line; I use to cut hair on Melrose Ave. in another life; and I am still besties with my two closest pals from elementary school, who encouraged me to share my story. This is my journey. I hope it provides a sliver of inspiration for anyone who is entering or in the midst of a fog. Follow my journey on Facebook and my blog!

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