Pick a stage, any stage | Mark’s Remarks

marksAs in almost every aspect of my life, I try to find humor. Humor has helped me cope with so much. How about you? Do you seek humor? There are some of us who can laugh all day long.

The other day I took my oldest son out for a driving lesson, deciding he should have some good solid experience.

After we drove up and down the highway for a good bit of the lesson, I realized he had enough experience now to try something more challenging.

I am not a person who is fond of shopping. Since I needed to find a pair of shoes, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and have my son drive me to the shoe store.

He showed great responsibility and driving prowess as we navigated the four-lane highways. My son changed lanes with ease and was, most of the time, the epitome of carefulness.

It wasn’t always easy. We had a couple of times where we had to turn around and drive back to a missed turn off.

It’s hard to teach someone to drive. You must remember that the person learning to drive must be told every little thing. They do not know which way to turn, literally. You must remember your right from your left. Often, when your life is at stake, this is hard.

At times, I end up yelling a direction. This usually happens with the little things, like what “yielding” is. After I yelled out a quick lesson on yielding, I had to tell him what the word “sideswipe” means.

I also had to tell him that driving on a parking lot is a lot different than a highway. We finally parked the car, after we almost took out a bit of shrubbery next to an Office Max, and had a discussion on “coasting.”

Once we were safely back in the driveway upon our return home, I couldn’t help but be proud of my son for his willingness to put up with such a driving teacher. I think he will be a great driver… after many more lessons, that is.

As I entered the house, a bit shell-shocked, I was greeted by the baby who announced that she had gone potty, something she’s been working on. We celebrated with a couple of tosses in the air.

My younger son, voice deepening and at least two chin whiskers on his chin, came into the kitchen looking for his phone. His moods teeter between childhood and adulthood and can change at any minute. Right now, without his phone, he is in “moody teen” mode.

Our older daughter is a ‘tweener. She won’t be in her teens for a few more years, but already her tastes in clothing and how she spends her time are changing. She’s no longer playing some of the games she once played. There is increased interest in nail polish and jewelry, purses and hairdos. She makes stylish things out of duct tape at the moment.

When I was a kid, I used to imagine myself in the year 2000. At that time, it seemed an eternity away, yet I remember thinking I would be in my 30’s and I pictured myself as an older man with a wife and grown children. I always pictured myself with glasses.

Here it is almost 14 years later than that banner year. I am the older man I pictured. I wear glasses, which I didn’t yet have in the year 2000.

However, I am still in various stages of child-rearing. As I said, it’s all sort of funny when you look at it. Moody teenagers, terrible twos, puberty. We got it all.

I count my blessings as I sum up the celebrations we’ve had today: making it back to the driveway alive, going potty and seeing the last of the diapers leaving my house, the discovery that the lost cell phone was stuck down in an armchair. We marvel over the latest duct tape creation.

Various developmental stages. Various interests and various priorities. There’s never a dull moment.

Thank goodness.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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