When your son turns 17, he will start researching the acceptance rate to NYU, Penn State, and Temple University. Tell him to focus on the now instead. He didn’t do so hot on The Great Gatsby exam, and he’s been getting lazy with his French vocab. Teach him worthwhile dreams are not easy to achieve and hard work is rarely glamorous.
Encourage his hopes. Don’t let him slack off. At this age there will be a myriad of distractions and grades may be the last thing on his mind. Keep on him. If he lets it slip, he may regret it in the future. Like his mom did.
When your son turns 17, do not even attempt to grasp polynomial synthetic division. Just hire a tutor. If you do grasp it, you’re a rockstar, and please call me so I can save money on the tutor.
When your son turns 17, he will begin to behave a little more logically, swapping out his goal of becoming a millionaire YouTuber to perhaps a career in cinematography. And then a week later to law enforcement. Then back again to cinematography. Don’t try to get him to pin down something definite just yet. It’s too stressful, and besides, the possibilities are endless.
When your son turns 17, he will take longer than you do to get ready. It’s all about the hair. If it’s not perfect, expect to be waiting a while for him.
When your son turns 17, you will turn the house upside down looking for the birth certificate with the raised seal as you gather up six points of identification for his driver’s license road test. You will remind him to square his turns, come to a complete stop, and check his mirrors. You will pray he passes but also wish keeping him strapped in a booster seat for the rest of his life was a viable option. You may feel an overwhelming loss of control thinking about your child out on the road without you, facing decisions, and possibly danger. Sometimes you won’t be able to breathe.
When your son turns 17, he will try to convince you why his first car should be a 1996 Chevy Corvette coupe with 129,000 miles on it. Agree with him that rear-wheel drive vehicles are a blast to drive, but it’s best to save a speedy whip for when he has a few more miles under his belt. Like when he’s 40.
When your son turns 17, he will feel the need to challenge you on everything. He doesn’t want to be viewed as a kid. You will have flashbacks to when he was two, trying to push your limits. But this time you can’t put him in time out.
When your son turns 17, he will be one year away from registering to vote, and it might not be with the party you prefer.
He really is his own person, not an extension of you. Guide him, and continue to be a positive role model, but remember our children are not meant to be molded into who we want them to be. This can be a challenging concept to a mother, but also rewarding as you watch your son’s unique self flourish.
When your son turns 17, do not tell him who to date even if you think the spunky girl with mile-long legs would be perfect for him. When they do start to date, keep your I knew it! to yourself.
When your son turns 17, he will act fairly independent, solving problems on his own, navigating relationships, even cooking easy dishes for himself. He will not, however, be able to find his track uniform without you. Even if you leave it on top of his dresser and remind him 30 times it’s there.
When your son turns 17, he will finally admit he kind of likes his younger brother. He will become fiercely loyal to him. Two years ago he couldn’t wait to race home to tell you if his brother got detention. Now, he will be his confidant. His guardian of secrets. This will overflow your heart with warmth as well as make you very curious. What are those two up to?
When your son turns 17, he will hug you again. Sometimes even in public. Don’t make a big deal about it even though you feel like throwing a My Son Hugs Me Again party.
When your son turns 17, make sure he knows how to plunge a toilet, make a bank deposit, and do a load of laundry from beginning to end. Teach him to check for bald tires, properly wrap a gift, and use a separate cutting board for meat and vegetables. Make sure he knows condoms can’t be flushed. I know, I know, the thought of your baby having sex makes you wish it were possible to vacuum your brain, but we can’t be naive about this. We are too young to be grandmas, ladies.
When your son turns 17, he will suddenly become very protective of you. This will especially ring true if you are a single mom. If you go on a date, he will want to know with whom, and if the guy wasn’t respectful, it will make your son mad. This will make you feel proud and oddly safe.
When your son turns 17, he will not like rules.
He may rage against you with such indignation you will feel yourself buckling. Don’t. But pick your battles wisely or you will end up exhausted.
When your son turns 17, do not ask him to make a mom and son TikTok video. He will say no.
When your son turns 17, you will wish life had a pause button. You will remember when he was a tender infant curling into your arms, fists balled, and smelling of Dreft. Sometimes you will smile, recalling these memories, other times it will feel like there are stones in the pit of your stomach. You know there is no going back. Only forward.
When your son turns 17, your heart will flood with gratefulness. How incredibly lucky you are to have this beautiful experience—to see him through each season of childhood.
When your son turns 17, you will no longer love a boy, now you will love a man.