Thursday, July 15, 2010

Growing Pains and Personal Pizza

When my oldest bouncing baby boy graduated from high school he immediately enlisted in the United States Navy.

College did not interest him even though a wresting scholarship was within his grasp. Instead, he dreamed of becoming an air traffic controller. In the civilian world you have to be 21 years old to be accepted into a training program. Happily, he was able to graduate high school several years before turning 21. :-)

So off to the Navy he went where he could receive training in air traffic control before the age of 21 AND see the world and do all manner of sailorly things.

After his initial four year tour he re-enlisted for another two years; Navy life apparently suited him. During those six years of service to our country I dutifully drove or flew to many ports to witness the spectacular vision of a returning air craft carrier group.

I can't begin to describe to you the emotion of standing on a dock with thousands of other family members waiting for our sailors to come ashore after months of sea duty. Five thousand plus sailors line the deck of the carrier - all waiting for the order to begin their leave.

It is Navy tradition that new fathers off board first (those whose babies were born while they were at sea) next, by rank come the enlisted men, then officers, by rank, with the last man on board the Commander.

Witnessing the reuniting of families, months separated by water and sometimes conflict, is one of the most emotional, gut wrenching, fulfilling moments of my life and I can assure you, not a dry eye can be seen on that dock.

Anyway, after six years of service, my boy had grown up. All on his own. On a base, on a ship, in a foreign port he went from gangly teen to competent man. I was not there to witness his slow ascent into manhood. The Navy was his mother and father for those years.

After six years he was honorably discharged and decided to continue his education using his much earned GI Bill. During this time he moved back in with me.

When a grown man who has travelled the world (several times) and has served his country well moves in with you, there are really hardly any rules that can be applied. The one rule I did have was that his evening dates not show up at my morning breakfast table. He more or less followed this rule. Ahem.

The point of this post is that I have never lived with a 20 year old going through the growing up into manhood stage. Until now. Jacob is now 20 years old and is, um, growing up. He has a new relationship with a lovely girl from our hometown. He is, as TBHITW put it, thoroughly smitten.

Jacob has informed us that he and "L" are going on vacation this August together (remember my lamenting about family vacations?)... Oh. He 'informed' us by the way, he did not ask us for permission or ask if we thought this was a good idea.

Double Oh. He told us they were thinking of driving to Montreal for a few days to 'see the sights'. Hmmm.. Let's review:

You live in my house during the summer and all school breaks and sometimes come home on the weekends during the school year.
You drive a car that is registered to me. (ie: I bought it)
You go to college during the winter and your father, TBHITW and I dutifully pay a $gazillion dollars a semester in order for you to attend.
You take all your meals from the refrigerator in my kitchen. You put nothing into that refrigerator other than your hand.
When you need clothes, shoes, books, etc. you use the American Express card in your wallet whose bill comes payable to your father (TBHITW) and I.
Your health insurance, car insurance, cell phone, etc is all part of a "family" plan - payable by, you guessed it folks - TBHITW and myself.
Double Hmm..

Does anyone else have a problem with this 'vacation plan'? Playing house is all well and good when you are out and about and responsible for yourself. But the way I see it, this 20 year old is NOT responsible for himself. He is living off the fruits of our labor still. I am not complaining about that, we gladly accept the responsibility of providing for him while he is in college and educating himself in order to SUPPORT HIMSELF.

Am I old fashioned? Hopelessly unaware and behind the times? Is it me who is experiencing growing pains? What would you do? What would you say to the vacation with girlfriend plan?

Quick Pizza for Two:

Two store bought personal pan pizza shells
1 large ripe tomato (preferably home grown), sliced thinly
6 ounces buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, roll up like a cigar, then slice thinly.
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly brush each pizza shell with olive oil
Divide tomato slices evenly among the pizza shells
Top with basil, then both cheeses.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes directly on the oven rack until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbling.

A Cook's Notes:  The day after 9/11, instead of going to his graduation ceremony,  my oldest re-enlisted in the Navy explaining to me that our nation, now more than ever, needed experienced men. He continues to serve in the United States Navy to this date. Yes, bouncing baby boy, you are all grown up and this mama is mighty proud of you.


  1. Haha... well, hmmm.. I guess FOR ME- a twenty-something who knows nothing about raising or living with other twenty-somethings (well, as anything other than obnoxious roommates)- I would have to say that as long as he does not expect you to foot the bill for his "vacation" that it's part of growing up and having more adult relationships. I think I went on vacation with my boyfriend when I was about 19 or 20 for a week and a half- but it was with his FAMILY. Granted, they were not old-fashioned in the least, so you could imagine, but I think my parents were ok with it? Or perhaps time has conveniently erased my memory! My mom might be able to better answer this question!

    Also- I love making pizza- too bad it's too hot to bake right now! (No AC in our new apartment! BOO!)

  2. Sounds like a neat young're lucky, and so is the country he serves!

  3. I have to say as long as you are not paying for it, and maybe if it doesn't interfere with your family vacation, it should be okay. But I totally agree with you about the sleeping arrangements. I have no idea what they were with Jeninacide on her vacation with her boyfriend's parents as NOW I find out they were "not old fashioned in the least"... (I think that goes back to really not wanting to know everything.) But I just had this conversation with my youngest who may visit this summer with her boyfriend. I reminded her there were two spare bedrooms. She said the age-old "things have changed." At which point I reminded her that some things never change. She didn't argue, because quite frankly, I don't think she would be comfortable in that arrangement.

    You should be very proud of your son in the Navy. My father and uncles were all in the Navy and my father believed it was the very best thing for a young man. The opportunity to learn something, and at the same time be taken care of, was a good thing for a boy leaving home for the first time. It gave them time to grow up and learn responsibility at the same time.

    This pizza sounds wonderful, and as soon as my stomach feels like food, this will go on my list. (I don't think it was food poisoning - although that was my first thought because it happened so fast - but I had other symptoms of flu - specifically the awful aching body.) Thanks for the recipe - it sounds easy and perfect for summer.

  4. I have two bouncing baby 19 year olds. I would not put my seal of approval on that vacation. I feel like we still get some input since if we cut them off, they'd be a fish out of water. What they do at school as far as their "free time" is out of my control. But vacations...that's another story!

  5. Sounds like you've got some great and very different young men there... I so remember having those kinds of conversations with my folks and experiencing their looks of horror!! I'd say let him go but then I'm not a parent!!


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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