June 25, 2015

Seventeen sounds a lot older than sixteen did. I know you know what I mean. It’s just weird that our little kid is actually not a kid. Seventeen seems to qualify as young man.

I don’t wonder where all the time went; I have pictures. Lots and lots of them, in lots of places doing lots of things. So it’s not that. It’s just.. I look at him and see that he’s a young man, his own person of a young man with a fully formed personality, a life-at times–apart from ours. He’s got a family personality, and I now realize he’s got a personality that is all his own and shines outside of our family.

He shines at home, too, but in a different way.

I do love this guy and love the man he is becoming.  Here is this year’s snapshot–the seventeen year old version of Peter:

– He seems really comfortable with life, with who he is. I think he is enjoying himself. He likes his friends, he feels comfortable at home and with us, he loves being part of the baseball program, he loves diddling around with music, he loves working out and going for runs. He just seems very content.

– He likes school. I could qualify this by pointing out that his knee-jerk response to school is that he hates it, but I don’t really think he hates it. I think his dislike is the same as most teenage boys when asked about school. It’s school. But I see that it’s a huge part of his life and that there is a lot going on there that has nothing to do with homework and tests. Whatever else school is, it’s a big giant laboratory for figuring out who he is and where he fits in and who everybody else is and what matters to him. Of course, that’s what this school thing is all about. And he’s actually learning stuff. Bonus. And he’s doing well. He got a 4.2 both semesters of his junior year. Overall he’s hovering around a 3.9. He manages his classes with our barest intervention. It’s all working according to our never really articulated plan.

– He remains curious, spending a huge percentage of his online time researching physics, largely, or just listening to lectures, or taking tests. Really. He loves testing his knowledge of things. He prides himself on how much he knows.

– He’s not off the charts anywhere, or a music prodigy, or a future pro ball player, but he totally enjoys and is good at most of what he does. And when he’s not good at something he seems okay with that. I especially like that last part.

– He is actually really good at physics and pretty good in math. Physics, for now, has really lit his fire and given him a focus as he nears the part about applying to colleges. He got exceptionally great SAT scores on the math side of the house, which will help him make a case for physics. He awaits his physics AP score, but will take that again anyway when he actually takes AP physics next year. His passion is genuine, and at least at this point in time, he sees himself pursuing a career in some branch of physics. I know he could zig zag all over the place once he gets to college, which is fine, but I am so pleased he has a clear focus now. It may help his prospects at universities he’s interested in. We’ll see.

– As I write this, he’s off playing golf with Solly and Ray. Maybe James. They are planning a backpacking trip. He still loves to hike. They go swimming at the river or Lake Berryessa. He also still hangs with Reed, Daniel B, Jordon, Jacob, Michael and–when he’s available–Jack. Sleepovers are still happening. A bunch of them have already got reservations for a post-graduation trip to Hawaii.  He spends a lot of time alone at home, but he also spends a lot of time with his friends. I’m grateful that, in addition to the baseball team and longtime friends there, he has a solid social cohort. We like these boys, too, and know well almost all of the parents.

– He remains a very obsessive guy. When not obsessing about physics, he’s currently obsessing about baseball gloves, squats and benching increasing amounts of weight.

– He sleeps a lot. He still turns on every light in the house when we’re gone. He still makes up random games involving long chains of rubber bands or foam dice and wooden spatulas, or objects submerged in sinks full of water. He’s still messy and leaves solitary socks absolutely everywhere. He still can’t open an envelope without tearing it to bits. I still discover pencil chards all over, and too many surfaces are still inexplicably sticky.

That’s all okay by me.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things… will add as I do.

– A lot is missing from the list that might show up on the list other seventeen year olds: chores, dating, working, partying, attitude, drugs, alcohol. I’m glad some of that is missing and expect other stuff will show up in due time. We’ll just have to see.

I am looking ridiculously forward to having him all to ourselves for a month later this summer. Two upcoming trips. I am seeing the travel as a great chance to do a lot of hanging out and bunch of talking all the while doing completely new things and taking in a ton. I’m hoping our relationship deepens and expands. Hoping I’m not too eager and don’t overplay this. But wow, I think it’s going to be awesome.

I’ve got a lot of pictures from yesterday… so here goes:

This year’s cake order was red velvet. He didn’t know that was chocolate and when he found out, he requested I modify in some interesting way, in particular he wanted a layer of vanilla… so… I made a red velvet bottom later:


Which yielded two layers, one of which we froze for later:


Then I added a layer of strawberry ice cream, thinking “ice cream cake” sounded great!IMG_7132

But when we added the layer of vanilla cake and commenced to frost with a butter cream frosting I’d made, the ice cream sort of melted (the cakes were totally cooled off, but it still melted, so clearly I don’t know how to do this ice cream cake thing):


So I popped it into the freezer to try and stop the melting, but instead the ice cream absorbed into the bottom later. It was weird.

Still, we threw the candles on and called it good. We just ate fast:


See… no ice cream layer!


Peter liked it well enough…


Here are Jim and Peter:


Okay, so before the cake, we’d gone to the Buckhorn for dinner:


And had their complimentary birthday cheesecake (which complemented our dessert at home):


Exiting the restaurant:


Drove home in the gorgeous light of a beautiful sunset…





After cake, cards and presents… here’s Peter taking his new bike out for a spin: