From Thomas the Train to texting — they grow up so fast!

By Melanie Yingst

Folks, I’m asking all of you for a small favor.

Please put me on your prayer chain, send positive vibes or just smile at a stranger for me this week.

I am officially the mother of a teenager.

And I’m not exactly happy about it. I’m not happy about it not because of the pending surge of hormones or looming mouthy backtalk because I believe in Karma.

I’m not happy about it because if he’s 13, I’m old.

It’s just 13 sounds so old. I honestly get choked up about it.

This was the little guy I could zip up in my sweatshirt until he was three months old.

I’ve been pretty weepy about it. Ugh. I’m one of those wishy-washy parents that can’t deal with all this growing up business. Ugh, those memories and photos that pop up on social media.

There was one that came up of Evan holding his Thomas the Train. I miss Thomas the Train. Now its text messages and school bus drama.

And then, Evan and I got a little reality check.

A few days after his 13th birthday, our morning did not start off so well. In fact, I was annoyed as soon as I heard my cell phone chime.

My 13-year-old texted me from the living room as I was still in bed.

Folks, I can see my living room from my bedroom.

“Can you pack my lunch for me?” at 6:53 a.m.

Um. Hello? I’m right here. It was a very teenagerish thing of him to do which made it even worse.

So after a stern lecture of how in our little family we do not text one another from six feet away, I shuffled through our morning as usual. As we traveled to school, I was mentally plotting out my day. I need to get Dad a birthday card. I need to email this person. I need to take back these CDs to the library. I wonder if the Ground Hog saw his shadow this morning?


A herd of deer ran out in front of our car so quickly I didn’t have a chance to brake. A six-point buck rolled up on the hood of my Honda, essentially destroying my car. His antlers busted the windshield in front of Evan’s face on the passenger side.

Luckily we were OK. Shorty probably caught the worst of the accident as he was thrown in the back seat during the ordeal.

Accidents happen. The worst was telling Evan, no, the buck will not be going to the vet to fix its broken leg. He covered his ears and turned his head after I begged the deputy to put the animal out of its misery before doing anything else to help us.

It wasn’t the best day, but I was thankful for the people who stopped and asked if we were OK. In the rush to get Evan to school after the accident, I felt bad for the way we started our morning. Thankfully my mom dropped me off at school (full-circle, right?) so I could check on Evan, give him a hug and make sure he was OK. And I needed to apologize. I’m big on apologizing when I’m in the wrong.

And, he was fine. He let me hug him out of sight of all his classmates outside of the classroom. This is the same kid who gets embarrassed when I roll down the window, waving frantically, screaming “I love you! Have a great day!” until he says it back at the school drop off lane.

He still is my little boy. I don’t care what the candles on his birthday cake say. This week, he was honestly surprised when I didn’t flip out about a recent detention slip I had to sign. Instead, I made him sign it himself, noting he needs to stop turning his homework late. Why do we always have to sign stuff when they screw up? So I made him sign it, noting his transgressions and got an empty promise that he’d learned his lesson.

It’s funny how something can jolt you out of your little world. Suddenly, an obnoxious teenagerish text message doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Or a junior high detention. At least he hasn’t picked up the art of forgery like I had already mastered at 13 (sorry, Mom!).

What’s important is being safe and to keep on trucking despite the obstacles in our way.

And yes, I’ll still pack his lunch for him from time to time — but only if he asks me in person and not by text message.

By Melanie Yingst

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. 13. Ew.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. 13. Ew.

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