Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2011-12: Ben

Ben took two huge leaps this year.

The first, and biggest, was his sole decision to leave the giant public high school three minutes from our house and attend a small charter high school seven miles away. I must admit that I wasn't 100% behind this idea in the beginning. Our high school is ranked nationally in a few areas and is one of the best in the state. None of these things mattered to Ben when making his decision. He thought about it for a few months last year, and after praying a out it, he decided the best place for him would be Heritage Academy.

We supported him in his decision, but I told him that he would be responsible for getting himself to school every day. He found a nice older road bike on Craigslist, and he rode to school every day. Some days he would ride to a friend's house and hitch a ride halfway, but I only took him to school less than five times all year--including football season, when he had to take full pads to practice (bungee corded to the back--it was kinda funny). Those twice-daily bike trips built a strength of character that he would have missed this year.

He made fantastic friends, won the state championships in football, and made the acappella choir for next year--all things he would have missed out on if he'd listened to me.  I'm so glad he didn't listen to me--this time.

The second leap was his complete immersion in rugby.  He loved it, every bit of it--from the road rash and pulled muscles to the chest-pounding trash talk and leg-snapping tackles (a teammate of his--yeah, it was gross).

The culmination of his rugby year was traveling with his team, as AZ state U19 champions, to nationals.  Although their team didn't do as well as they'd hoped and Ben played even less, he did actually carry the ball and play at the national level.  That was a huge achievement.  And he's already planning on next season.

What I will always remember about tenth grade and Ben will be his first date.  I was taking him to a friend's party when he got a text, read it, then started laughing.  He told me that a girl he knew had a really cute friend who hadn't been asked to her prom.  Would he take her?  Oh, and it was the NEXT NIGHT!  He hadn't been on a date yet, and was not going to his own prom because of rugby nationals, so he said, why not?

Ben's first date was a blind date to someone else's prom with less than 24 hours notice.  I scrambled, pulled out Tucker's choir tux which fit well enough, called the florist (who thought he was amazing to take a girl he didn't know to her prom and arranged the most beautiful corsage with four hours' notice), and watched my second son as he entered the world of women.

And what did she look like?  She's in the black and white.
 I know.  The pictures are poor-quality teenager cell phone shots.  But it was the best I could manage when I didn't even know the girl's last name until Ben got home that night.

Worth $50 at Outback?  I think so.

Ben grew up a lot this year--especially when it came to responsibility for his grades.  Hopefully the lessons he learned the last four weeks of school will stick with him through the last two years of high school. 

Two more years I get to enjoy full-time mothering of this guy.  Love him.

Linking up to B with Jenny Matlock.

Jenny Matlock


  1. I love that you let him decide what school to go to!!

    What a great guy to take a girl he didn't even know!!

  2. Congrats to you and Ben for what sounds like a terrific year. He sounds like an awesome young man and how cool that he got to play with the U19s at the national level. That's quite an accomplishment for a 10th grader!

  3. I love him too. Great post! He really is such a GOOD kid!

  4. He'll marry her, right? She looks like your family. Very cute. You don't know me. I don't know you. But I check in every single day because I like you. And your family. I have six....14 to 2.

  5. What a wonderful post of growing and love. Well done Ben & enjoy those last couple of years. Having said that you never lose your sons because they all love their mums!

  6. Wow, sounds like Ben had an amazing year! I love that you let him change schools....and I love it even more that he made a great decision for himself. So nice of him to take a girl to the prom that he didn't even know...I think that shows an unbelievable amount of confidence. Yay Ben!
    I am loving these post Jenny! Such a great idea!

  7. Good for him...such dedication. And okay...such a cute girl! I agree he must have a ton of confidence and what a cool guy!

  8. Love that independence!

    And it looks like his set-up turned out pretty well!!


  9. What a wonderfulyoung man to take a stranger to her prom ... bravo!!!! and congrats on all of the terrific activites ... sometimes our kids know themselves far better than we want to believe ...

  10. He's a Stud. That's right. Capital S.

  11. When my youngest daughter Hannah was a senior her boyfriend called with a dilemma. Someone had played a prank on a girl, a sophomore and told her Markus, a senior woud ask her to prom! The girl bought a dress. Markus asked Hannah's permission to take the girl to prom. Hannah went with a good buddy and had a nice time. We thought Markus was a beautiful gentleman to spare a young lady such sadness by being made a fool. So he took her to prom and made a new friend!
    Ben is a beautiful person. It is a courageous thing today to go on a blind date! My nephew Ryan did it too and now has a wonderful girlfriend! The photos you share are beautiful and bright! Ah...youth!

  12. I can tell you're so proud of him! They grow up so fast, don't they?

  13. Go, Ben! You must be so proud of him!

  14. Maybe only two more years at home, but he will be your boy forever. Even when he is a man. This is a lovely post. I have enjoyed reading about you and your family so much!

  15. As parents it seems like the independence drives us crazy when they're younger and makes us beam with pride when they're adults!

    What an awesome (and handsome) young man!

    Thank you for sharing your Ben with us!