Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hobo Has Left the Building

(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

There's a stranger in my house.

I'm not sure who he is, but from all appearances, this kid combs his hair, brushes his teeth, and showers voluntarily. Quiet, anti-social, his fingers tapping furiously at a screen - I'm afraid to approach him. He looks pretty surly.

Nonetheless, I carefully walk over to the outsider and stare at his face. Is it . . . could it be?

Holy zit! It is him! Yes, I can't quite believe my eyes, but somehow, I know I'm right. Judging by the pimples, voluntary showers, and alarming array of Axe products in the bathroom, I now have a . . .

(*Cue dramatic music*)

. . .  Teenage boy.

You remember my son, the Hobo, right? Avid fan of farts, stranger to personal hygiene, avoider of anything girl- or romance-related?

Well, the unbelievable, the unthinkable has happened, and he seems to be growing up and taking an actual interest in bathing. No longer content just to smell, no, he actually wants to smell - good.

I should have known my son had crossed the slick, sweaty bridge to adolescence - the signs are all there: He empties the refrigerator, sleeps 11 hours a night, and no longer dry-heaves at the mention of females. And if I had any doubt that he's changing, it disappeared the other morning as I tried to roust him from bed.

"Hobo," I called up the stairs.


"Hey, buddy! It's time to wake up."

*Muffled mumble. More crickets*

"Levi," I called again, using his real name to indicate the magnitude of the situation. "It's 6:15. Time to wake up."


"I HEARD YOU!" he roared through the ceiling. "I am GETTING UP!"

I stood on the landing, my mouth agape, debating whether to whoop his butt or run and hide.

Where was my kid, the sweet boy, the one who would have simply said, "Okay, Mom!" and then bounded down the stairs to hug me?

Ah, but I should have anticipated this. I've been through it before, and pretty recently, too, with my daughter, the Princess, who was in a puberty-related bad mood for a good part of a decade. She's 17 now, with (mostly) grown girl parts, so the hormones are (mostly) done coursing through her system, and she's in a decent frame of mind these days.


Oddly enough, it was to her I first mentioned the Hobo's foul moods.  "I think your brother is becoming a teenager."

"I know!" she replied, eyes wide. "He is, like, mean! I said something to him the other day, and he just, like, SCREAMED at me! For no reason!"

Ha ha ha!

Oh, Karma - you're a bitch. But sometimes, you're my very best friend.

Still, I realize this is the beginning of the end of something - again. In the next several years, I'll deal with a crabby, gangling, sometimes insufferable man-child who will double the grocery bill, empty the hot water tank, steal my Victoria's Secret catalogue, and continue to expand his disturbing collection of Axe products.

And I will miss the little boy, the three-year-old who said "You're my girlfriend, Mommy!" when I asked about his love life.

I'll miss the older version, too. The one who smiled, laughed, replied without yelling, looked at something besides an electronic screen, and even occasionally - just sometimes - acknowledged my presence in public.

I mean, that kid smelled funny. But he sure was nice.


  1. Acknowledging ones presence is way overrated 😊

  2. Awww. I can fully relate, and it twists my little heart, it does.

    Next he'll be asking if he can get a tattoo.

    Somebody hold me.


  3. Sorry, Dawn. My sympathies to you. He's not...dare I yet, is he? Do warn us all when that starts. I'm not sure why you should warn us. I'm scared for you, though you'll handle it beautifully - as much as beautiful parents can handle an ugly mess.


    PS Thank goodness for voluntary showering.

  4. Hang on tight. The ride is gonna get bumpy! (Axe products -- LOL and ewww all at the same time!)

  5. At age 34, Favorite Young Man retains a slight odor because he rides his bicycle so much. I like that little bit of funky scent. It tells me he's still my Favorite Young Man.


  6. That's hilarious!!! I didn't have kids and my husband tracked me down when his were already out of high school so I have zero experience in the field of child rearing. As much as it would've been fun to guide the kids from childhood through the teen years as the cool stepmom, on the other hand I'm glad they are autonomous (for the most part).

  7. And then will come the day he brings a girl home to meet you for the first time :)

  8. Don't tell him it's all downhill from there. At least for the next decade or so.

  9. Ah, the Axe years. I remember them well. Can't say I miss them, but they were interesting. Good luck!

  10. Ray - I don't know. I am a fan of being acknowledged.
    Pearl - I know you've been here, done this. Any advice for getting through? Vodka?
    Robyn - No, he's not dating yet. He's just now become comfortable with the fact that girls actually exist. I'm sure it's on the horizon, though.
    Debra - Exactly! I am both amused and disgusted with the Axe.
    Janie - You make a good point. How will I even know it's him for sure, without his Hobo funk?
    JoJo - You may want to count your blessings! And wait for the grandbabies. :)
    Carol - Say it ain't so!
    Jono - I agree. Adulthood is largely overrated.
    Linda - "The Axe Years." Perfect!

  11. In a few years, I'll have kids of my own, and this is what I dread most - the moment they go from sweet little hug monsters that want to help me do everything to moody teens that walk around in a cloud of Axe thinking everything I do is stupid and lame. Good luck!

  12. Love this, Dawn! I think Huff. post is calling your name . . .

  13. Just a bit of advice from one who was once a teenage boy (during the Nixon Administration):
    Please knock and wait for an answer before you walk into his room.
    It'll save you both a bit of embarrassment.
    Just sayin'...

    1. Al - thanks to your sound advice here, I may not step in his room until he's packing his boxes to move out!

  14. When I was there, my mom would pass the bathroom door on the way down the hall and knock and say, "Stop playing with that". I hated that. Don't do that.

  15. Hey Dawn, it comes to all of them. The good news is, they grow out of it. Right?! *worried* Indigo x

  16. I knew my stepdaughter had reached true adolescence when she started taking a shower during the weekends she was with us. Until she turned 14, we would have to MAKE her take a shower, no lie.

    But I thought girls were the only ones who had mood changes as they reached their teen years. Boys get them, too. I had no idea until reading this! I grew up with all sisters so my understanding of the adolescent male is very limited.

  17. Just make sure you don't look under his bed.
    Just sayin'....

  18. I've never had a teenager, but I've been one and looking back now I can honestly say, I should have been smothered in my sleep. Good luck!

  19. Ron - I am not sure whether to thank you for the tip, or just bend over and vomit now.
    Indigo - Right? *also worried*
    Stephanie - Oh, I believe you about the MAKE them take a shower thing. I have spent the last 11 years MAKING the Hobo shower. And I was with you on the females only mood thing. Until now.
    Al - Like Ron, you also have made me nauseous.
    Jayne - Exactly. Karma - again.

  20. You may find yourself loudly protesting one day, "Hey! Where the hell did all the socks go? And why can't I keep a box of tissues?"
    Okay, I'm done. I'm sure I grossed you out enough for one day.