‘Because I’ll Have To Buy Forks’ and Other Teen Worries

So my son has this little group of friends – very cool teens, girls and boys, all smart and funny and college-bound and trying to change the world and at the same time hoping they don’t have to.

I often get a glimpse of their world when my son tells me stories at the dinner table. He’ll tell a conversation they had at the lake, or something someone said when they went to a dance after the football game, or something someone said on a date. One of the lines that has stuck with me – because I found it so sweet and so profound at the same time – was from one of his female friends (we’ll call her “Shelby”).

As my son and Shelby and a handful of their other friends were sitting around on a picnic table, contemplating their futures, she said that maybe she wasn’t so ready to grow up: “Because we’ll have to go grocery shopping … and then … buy forks and stuff,” she reasoned.

The comment cracked me up. Because it’s so true, really. When you’re young, the idea of standing in the aisle of the Oneida outlet store someday and buying forks seems so foreign.

I remember feeling this way about serving side dishes. I couldn’t quite imagine having the wherewithal – ever in my life – to know how or when to serve a side dish, or what to combine to create one. Like serving corn, for instance, with something like pimentos in it. My mom did it, but that seemed like such a mom thing to know. At 16, I remember thinking “I will never think to do that.”

That’s how Shelby’s “fork” comment struck me.

Do you remember feeling that way when you were a teenager? What was the thing you couldn’t imagine ever being grown up enough to do?

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11 thoughts on “‘Because I’ll Have To Buy Forks’ and Other Teen Worries

  1. I see a lot of teenagers, since my husband teaches at a high school.

    Sometimes I see these groups of teenagers sitting together and someone says something and they laugh and giggle so hard they can’t stop. Who knows what they were laughing about.

    And I remember those times as a teenager/kid and we would laugh and laugh ’til our stomach hurt and even when someone told us to stop we couldn’t stop or hold it in no matter how hard we tried.

    And then I think that I can’t remember the last time I laughed so uncontrollably that I thought I might pee my pants and I couldn’t stop no matter what.

    These days I chuckle at a funny show, a SNL skit or a witty comment; I laugh at funny things my kids do. And my husband is pretty funny, so I laugh at what he says. But I hardly ever laugh so long and hard until my stomach hurts like we did when we were kids. When I see my kids giggling and screaming about something silly and rolling on the floor and I smile and envy them a little.

    Is that what happens with adulthood? Less laughter? Or just a different kind of laughter? I think Ricky’s friends are right about not wanting to be grow up so fast. Tell them to cherish the days of just hanging out with their friends thinking about having fun on a weekend night. It’s a great time to remember — laughing!

  2. Underwear! My mom bought all my underwear up until the day I moved out…Truth be told I would get little bags from her even after I moved out, about 4 pair every two months or so-I don’t know if you ever knew that Laurie, (I remember thinking that I should be embarrassed that here I am a grown, married man and my mommy was still buying my underwear-but I wasn’t embarrassed, I liked it, looked forward to it. I didn’t even know what size I was, but my mom always knew!). I never even thought about it. I just figured that I’d never have to. Then for some reason the underwear shopping bags started to diminish and eventually stopped altogether. I don’t know but I like to think that my mom wanted a part of me to be her little boy still and I KNOW I’ll always want to be her little boy. And maybe she thought at 27 yrs. old it was time for me to be a grown up and start buying my own underwear. It’s funny I remember going to buy some and being totally clueless (27 yrs. old mind you) and having to go into the changing room to see what size I was wearing having never thought to look.
    Thanks Laurie, in advance for not divorcing me out of shame, and for causing me to remember just how special my mom and all moms are, to think that sometimes their grown up little boys still need them, and then to slowly help them grow into a man. Because, yes, buying your own underwear helps in some small way to help you grow into being a man-no matter how old you are…
    And thank you mom!

  3. Laurie,

    I always though “uh, I’ll have to do the dishes and clean the bathroom”. But the most interesting of all is that i absolutly NEVER wanted to have kids or get married. It’s funny because I loooove kids now. And NOW say to myself that if i could support 5 kids with 1 nanny, without living “tight on money”…. I’d do it!

    i still hate doing the dishes and cleaning my bathroom.

  4. For Grace:
    You need some girlfriend time, Grace!! That’s when you laugh out loud, almost wet your pants and have those wonderful long belly laughs…you can almost see the endorphins multiplying!!

  5. I don’t remember thinking about having to go shopping or what I might need, I just couldn’t wait to be on my own! In fact, I don’t remember even doing it…I know my first apartment had forks, they must have been hand-me-downs from my sister or my room mates family, hmmm?! Anyhow, I think it is great that “Shelby” thought about that, too many kids are rushing to grow up and don’t realize what it actually entails. My son just moved and I was frantic trying to get everything he needed shipped out to Michigan for him so he would have an equipped apartment and he just kept saying, “oh, I won’t need that – I’ll be ok!” He was shocked at how much stuff came in his care package and excited because he had never thought to “need” a wire whisk or can opener! Of course, I took care of it for him (like Chris’ mom)- he probably would be using plastic sporks from MacDonalds if I hadn’t sent the packages 🙂

  6. Dixie — You are so right! Girlfriends are the best for that. At any age.

    Missing your constant wisdom, Grace

  7. Grace and Dixie — Hello, gals! Good to see you both here (like old times around the water cooler). Grace, interesting point you make, about our ability to “let go” like that — it does seem to diminish as we get older. There’s a “silliness” factor that’s missing in our usual adult lives (having to be, you know, the responsible adult!). I think Dixie is right on, though, that when you’re with a bunch of girlfriends you can let go of that “responsibility” factor and be like a kid again. I was trying to think of the last time I laughed to the point of absurdity, and it WAS with my girlfriends!! — Both from high school, interestingly enough (Parv and Dawn). I think, with them, I do let myself go back a bit to a childishness that I don’t normally allow myself. Interesting point!!!!

  8. Chris — UNDERWEAR!!! That’s a GREAT one! Just like forks! You don’t think you’ll ever have to buy it on your own. : ) And yeah, I knew your mom was slipping you those little packages whenever we’d see her. … I thought it was her eye-roll at my ability (or inability, in this case) to take care of her son. But you’re right — it probably had nothing to do with me! (I was an insecure new DIL!) It probably was just her way of maintaining a certain mom role and doing something she did well, which was to shop for all your needs. Moms. The best. …

    Geraldine — Ah, cleaning the bathroom! That’s a good one, too. I’m sure my kids haven’t thought of that one yet. (SURE of it, I tell ya’ …)

  9. Debi — Love it! I could see him using “sporks” for a long time! (Until he has a date over, anyway!) You’re such a cool mom — providing him a big old package with can openers and wire whisks! That’s a great story.

  10. I was talking to Denise yesterday and remembered that one of my biggest worries was “Who was going to give me an allowance?”

    My mom had told me i would get it till i was 18, but it never occurred to me that i would then be able to work and earn my own money. I just thought “Hmmm what will do for money then?”

    How funny.

  11. I love that “fork” comment. Since I’m still fairly new to living on my own (sure, I dormed in college, but that’s hardly being on your own) I still find so many things foreign.

    Washing dishes? I’ve done with for most of my life. Laundry? Yep, no biggie.

    But I spent my Saturday afternoon standing in the middle of Ikea, trying to figure out what curtains to buy. Now THAT felt pretty strange.

    In the end, I got dark plum curtains. And I keep staring at them, wondering if I made the right choice.

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