M is for Mature, or Maybe.
Okay, change of plans. I had written another blog last night to post today but Joey’s topic of conversation tonight after the baseball game trumps it. Joey, for about a year now, has asked if he could play the video games Call of Duty and Halo on the XBOX 360. Every time, Julie and I have both responded with a quick “No”. See those two games are rated “M” for mature, and clearly at 13 he is not old enough. Ratings are ratings. His argument however, is one befitting of a teenage boy, “All of my friends can play, why can’t I? “I am the only 8th grader that does not play Dad.” “I’m left out of many conversations at the lunch table.” “Because I can’t play Halo, I’m a social outcast Dad, and everyone laughs at me because you’re the strictest parents ever!” (okay so I added the last one, he really didn’t say that, but that’s how I know he feels).
Joey has a good head on his shoulders. He excels in school. Tries hard. Does his homework, gets exceptionally good grades and has afternoons filled with extra curriculars (One of which is baseball which we just finished this evening.) He is very mature for his age. Joey could be nicer to his siblings, especially his sister, but again he is a 13 year old boy. My fear for letting him play those games stems more from messing with his innocence than whether he is mature enough to play them. Life is harsh. At times it can be down right cruel, and as parents isn’t it our job to protect them? Even when it’s obvious that we cannot? (I never said my argument was rational) Sometimes I forget that he is maturing at an alarming rate. Hell, he is a freshman next year. I still think of him as the tiny little guy that followed my every step. It’s quite hard to think of him as a young adult with his own opinions, stress, problems and hardships. I still have plenty of my own demons to deal with, how can I realistically help him navigate his? So will we let him play the mature games? Maybe. I’m not sure yet, but we will talk about it later after we are in the new house, and settled. Oh yeah the new house…that’s a whole ‘nother blogpost.
Bottom line is this: No matter how much I try, the reality is that Joey is getting older. And well, I guess am too.