The day after Christmas the Boy and Girl Teen and I went shopping. It's our usual thing. Mom is frugal (ahem) and loves to hit up the after-Christmas sales for discount wrapping paper and sprinkles in various colors. The Teens generally get gift cards and, much like their mother, enjoy stretching their dollars. It's a fun day and not crazy like Black Friday tends to be. We shop, pick up lunch, and enjoy the rest of the day basking in our good deals.
Unsurprisingly, the Boy wanted to visit the local game store. If you are unfamiliar with this type of thing it's basically a video game store that sells new and used games for all gaming systems, as well as controllers, systems, books about gaming and so on. The one he wanted to go to is preferable to the other used game store in town (which is sketchy as frick), and video games are so expensive that if we can find the ones we like used, it's just tops.
Yes, we. I like video games too. I don't get to play as much as I would like, but I think I get to play exactly as much as I should play. When I get obsessed with something things like dinner and cleaning go right out the window. Not productive.
I went into a craft store to pick up some red ornaments (long story) and got molested by two older ladies while I was trying to pick out some 50% off wrapping paper (seriously, my butt was touched like fifteen times. I was going to shout, "THIS IS NOT A DATE!" at one of them, but I doubt she would have heard me anyway). By the time I made my way over to the game store, my son had picked out the two games he wanted. He had a gift card for one and was going to use his very own money to pay the difference. He and I had discussed the games prior to getting to the store, so I already knew what he was buying. We got in line, waited our turn, and everything was just peaches until the cashier said,
"Um. You do realize these games are rated M?"
I said yes. I did.
And then? He gave me the look.
If you are a parent, you know what look I'm talking about. If your child ever threw a tantrum in a store, stepped on someones dogs tail, or did anything in public that embarrassed you in any way, I guarantee someone has given you the look.
The YOU HAVE QUESTIONABLE PARENTING SKILLS look.
"He's almost sixteen," I told the guy and then I could have kicked myself for saying it.
"Rated M is for seventeen and up," he told me. I think he smirked. I swear I do.
"For someone who makes such questionable fashion and grooming choices, you'd think you might try to be a little less judgmental!" Is not what I said. Not at all. I thought it, but Lord knows I'm so Southern that those words wouldn't have come out of my mouth. Even if I thought them. Because you know? I shouldn't judge him.
Just like he shouldn't judge me. Because, yes. I let my kid play games that are rated M. I shouldn't have commented that my kid is almost sixteen because I had already made the decision to let my kid buy those games and to play those games. I did not need his approval.
I didn't tell him, because I didn't need to, that my kid is a darn-near straight A student, brilliant at history, loves Jesus and his family, has the biggest, kindest heart of anyone I've ever met, and gives me nary a worry that he will ever, ever act out because of anything he sees on a video game. I didn't tell him that I play those games with my kid. I didn't tell him that my kid would be the first one to help an animal or a person in need. That he wouldn't hurt a flea. That for us, video games are just a source of mindless entertainment. They don't change who we are.
I know that some people reading this will judge me anyway. That's okay. I know myself and I know my kid and I'm not worried.
Instead, I'm actually really proud. I'm proud of my kid for saving up his money, for being responsible, for thanking me four billion times for buying him the game system, and for just generally being a great human being.
If you want to judge me for anything? Judge me for that.
I don't mind.
*N=None of your business.