Your Own Little Pinocchio


As a teen I did the following in no particular order:

Lied, stole, vandalized, drove a car at age fourteen, shoplifted, ran away, hitchhiked, sneaked out of the house by hanging from a second story window, shaved my head, pierced my ears sixteen times and colored my hair the same as Strawberry Shortcakes.

I dated men almost twice my age, who could have been arrested for hanging out with me if they did indeed know my age but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell them.

Remember I started off this confession by saying I lied. A lot.

With that kind of personal history, I was prepared for Beau’s complete corruption beginning on Nov 18th 2005 the day he turned 13. Instead he spent the night with five smelly gangly boys playing Guitar Hero and playing a rowdy game of flag football in a nearby field while I waited for him to break out the booze while surrounding himself with clouds of smoke of a dubious nature.

Corruption at that level didn’t happen with him. Ever. Or at least I didn’t catch him at it and let’s remember his nickname for me was “Eagle Eye”.

What I did not expect was the feeling of losing control with my kid. I was so scared he was going to mess up that I held on tighter, clenched my fists harder and tried to control what can’t and shouldn’t be controlled. My kid.

When he was young it was easy. He marched like a soldier to my tune; he was like my own adorable little puppet.

At age 13 and beyond even when he did say the right thing or answer me correctly, I could feel his resistance and I could read his thoughts and they said this,

“My mother knows nothing and I don’t want to do what she says.”

Rebellion of a minor sort but rebellion none the less.

I didn’t like it but I should have.

A little puppet sent out into the world without its puppet maestro, well, it can’t walk, it can’t eat, and it can’t talk and it knows nothing on its’ own.

Thank goodness Beau knew better. He questioned everything I said even if he didn’t do it out loud all the time. He made most of his own decisions and they were good ones. Beau became his own person even if it wasn’t the one that I, the evil puppet master, had in mind.

Beau turns 22 this year and I am grateful that despite my machinations, Pinocchio outgrew Gepetto and became his own little boy and grew into the wonderful man he is today which is one who still disagrees with me on many accounts.

This next time around is coming, as even now we decide on what kind of deodorant Donovan wants to wear, and this time I will court martial less and listen more.

I don’t want to control him and I don’t want to contain him.

I thought I was brave always standing up to my teen but what’s really brave is letting them have the freedom to become their own person.

And just like Pinocchio who could only become a real boy if he proved himself to be “brave, truthful, unselfish and to gain a conscience” so to will our kids grow into the people they were meant to be if we can only afford them the freedom to do so.

You don’t want a puppet.

You want a person.

I wish you luck, and I hope you will do the same for me.

We’re gonna need it.







Some days I write, some days I wait tables and some days I work with preschoolers; all of which I love; but ALL days I am the wife of a Richmond City Firefighter and the mother of two great boys named Beau and Donovan who couldn't be any more different if they tried. In my five seconds of free time I run, ride bikes and try not to watch trashy t.v. I can be reached at