To Be Fourteen ...Going on Fifteen


Fourteen has been an interesting year for us. While many of Little Lewie's friends started high school this year, Lewie finished middle school. I was convinced I made the right decision to hold him back (in pre-school), but as luck would have it, Lewie's three best friends all started high school, and Lewie spent his 8th-grade year wishing it away. "High school is way better than middle school," he would complain.

In April, he decided not to attend the 8th grade Washington D.C. trip because he refused to share a hotel room with classmates that he either didn't know or thought were too immature. He didn't go to the combined 7th and 8th-grade dance for the same reason.  I was just about to label 8th grade as "the lost year" until something miraculous happened.  In May, not only did he agree to sign up for a day trip to a summer resort called "Holiday Hill," but he also agreed to attend the 8th-grade dance and end-of-year picnic. Was there a chance for us to redeem a year that was despised right at the onset?

Lewie's Holiday Hill picnic, surprisingly, was fun. He had a chance to play hoops and volleyball and get to know people in his class in a more intimate way than in the past. He arrived home feeling like he made new friends--other 8th-graders that had been in different classes from him throughout the years.

His first dance was also quite memorable. To save money, we decided he could dress in his same white shirt, black slacks, and shoes required for his band concert. The only difference is that he told me lots of guys would be wearing bowties instead of neckties. (Lucky for us, Daddy Lew had a bowtie Lewie could borrow.) The next goal was for us to teach Lewie some dance moves. Both Daddy Lew and I gave pointers on dancing to fast songs. I showed Lewie my classic 1990s and early 2000s techno dance moves. Daddy Lew showed Lewie his robot-breakdance moves and had him watch some Poppin John videos. On a separate day, I showed Lewie how to "slow dance" with a girl. Remembering my own first dance in 6th grade, I told him I did all the asking back then, and I would have been mortified if any of the boys refused my request for a slow dance. "What's the rule again?" I asked to make sure he was listening.

"Always say yes," he responded.

"Yes! That's my sweet kid." 

These last two pics are from Lewie's phone. I made him share them with me!

On the day of the dance, Lewie was dressed to the nines. I managed to take a few photos from home, but asking him to pose in front of the school (in front of other 8th-graders) was off-limits. I dropped him off in the parking lot and simply watched him wait for someone he knew to go inside. What a big milestone, I thought, as my son disappeared inside the glittery front doors. Little did I know, however, that I had absolutely NOTHING to worry about.

My husband agreed to pick up Lewie and was the first to hear about his time. "It was so fun," Lewie gushed. Evidently, in typical middle school style, the boys all hung out with each other on one side of the gym, and the girls all danced with one another on the other side. "Did you do any dancing?" I asked when he arrived home.

"Well, sort of," he responded. At one point the kids made a circle, and some of the braver dancers showed their skills. (Little Lewie wasn't one of them.) The boys and girls never slow danced. Both groups were too terrified to ask each other. "No one asked you to dance?" I asked Lewie one last time.

"Nope," he responded.

"So what made the dance so fun?" I finally asked.

"We had Chick-fil-A," he answered innocently.

So there was the summary of his middle school experience in a nutshell. Yes, he learned all about "the birds and the bees" in health class, and we allowed him to watch some movies this year with adult content, but in the end, he didn't need to have a date or even a dance with a girl to make his night complete. All he needed was FOOD, which shouldn't have been a shocker since teenage boys are always HUNGRY.

To capture Lewie's last moment of being fourteen, I interviewed him before his fifteenth birthday. I asked similar questions to previous years, but only a few answers remained the same. 

Q:  What is your favorite color?
A:  "Purple...Well, purple and orange are both kind of my colors."

Q:  What is your favorite book?
A:  He didn't have a ready answer for this one, but he's currently reading Refugee by Alan Gratz for school.

Q:  What is your favorite cartoon?
A:  "Sponge Bob and The Amazing World of Gumball." (Truth be told, Lewie spends most of his time watching videos on YouTube; his favorite cartoon on this platform is The Odd1sOut).

Q:  What is your favorite movie?
A:  "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse"--Lewie didn't even hesitate to answer this question.

Q:  What is your favorite board game?
A:  "Slapzi and Jackbox." He's really good at Slapzi, which is a card game, but he also enjoys playing Jackbox Games on the computer; he and his friends play it almost every time they get together. We like to play it with our cousins Vincent and Jamie, too.

Q:  What is your favorite computer game?
A:  "Garry's Mod."

Q:  What is your favorite place or favorite vacation?
A:  "Home." Lewie says his favorite place is home, but like a true teenager, when he's home, he says it's boring, and he wants to do more with his friends. Oh well...none of the fabulous National Park trips I've planned over the years made Lewie's list. Disney and Universal Studios didn't make the cut either.

Q:  What is your favorite thing to do at school?
A:  "Math and algebra." (God bless him. Those words will never come out of my mouth.)

Q:  Who is your favorite teacher?
A:  "Mrs. Poulin." Lewie's band teacher in grades 6 through 8, won the honor; however, Mr. Ruhl, his 8th-grade history teacher, did get an honorable mention.

Q:  What is your favorite sport?
A:  "Volleyball."

Q:  What is your favorite food?
A:  "French Toast." (This answer hasn't changed for the last 10+ years.)

Q:  What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
A:  "Black Rasberry."  (This is brand new.)

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A:  "I don't know...something in the digital arts."

Q:  What is your favorite saying this year?
A:  I'm going to answer this one. 1. Everything seems to begin with the word, "Bro..." as in "Bro, that makes no sense," or "Bro, you should have seen..." 2. If everything is good or okay. Lewie will say, "It's all gucci." 3. If something is awesome, it's "fire." 4. If he likes a response or agrees to a plan he will shout, "Bet!"

Q:  What was your favorite moment as a fourteen-year-old?
A:  "That's too hard. There are way too many. Okay, sleepovers...all my sleepovers with friends this year were fire."

For Lewie's birthday, we took three of his friends boat tubing and then we had them sleep over on his actual birthday. (We had other friends and family members come over for his birthday weekend, too.)

A favorite memory was listening to Lewie's side conversation with his friends' group while I was taking them for homemade ice cream at Rich Farm. It started with two of his fifteen-year-old friends saying how much they would love to live in places like NYC and Washington, D.C.--two places that are only interesting to them because they went there on recent trips. Then they talked about what they would do once they get their driver's license: "I'm just going to drive and drive until I'm forced to stop. Yea, like I'll just keep driving and then find myself one day in like Arkansas or something." 

I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. Boys are so different than girls. They don't talk about girlfriends or who they think is "cute." They're too busy daydreaming about living in cities and driving until they run out of gas. (At least for now...) I'll be savoring these last few days of summer until the next milestone--high school.


  1. I feel like this is going to be Simon too - he's young for his grade, but for some reason all his friends are older than him! Happy birthday to Lewie!

    1. Thank you, Dara. This year has certainly been a change--a little more independent and not wanting mom and dad around, especially if friends are over. I guess that's what the teen years are all about. (Ho-hum.)


I love to read your comments. Please feel free to share.