Unbelievably, at least for me, Celeste's and my oldest son turns 21 today. As in 2-1 and able to legally drink in any state in the union. How the heck did we get here this fast?
Normally I'd say he's a great kid, but these days that would be wrong because he's a great young man and not a great kid. He's beginning to make his way in the world by going to school, holding down a job and generally being a productive member of society. He's already encountered some bumps in the road and I'm encouraged by how he's dealt with them without losing what really makes him special: his caring for those around him and his incredible sense of humor even on a bad day. Honestly I couldn't be prouder of him and I can't wait to see what the next 21 years bring. The future is very bright for this kid, er, young man.
Happy birthday Michael!
Erin, Michael, Justin
Our oldest, Michael, was interviewed for Richard Craver's story in the Winston-Salem Journal about the difficulty teens are having finding work.
Being an early weekend riser wasn't exactly what Michael Lowder had in mind when he began pursuing a part-time job for the summer before heading to UNC Charlotte this fall.
But after filling out dozens of online applications and getting only two responses, Lowder, 18, said he felt fortunate to be hired for the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekend shift for the breakfast buffet at Embassy Suites…
Lowder's experience is all too familiar to working-age teens and adults trying to find temporary or permanent employment in the tight job market.
Like many adults with jobs, Lowder landed his position primarily because of networking, in his case a neighbor who is in management at Twin City Quarter.
When asked his advice for other teens, Lowder said don't be afraid to ask a neighbor or a friend's parent who runs a business if they need help.
"Honestly, I got lucky," Lowder said. "It seems, at least from the combined experiences of my friends, that small businesses are your best bet for employment."
I have to say I've been proud of Michael for dragging himself out of bed at 5:15 every Saturday and Sunday morning, and now that school's over, several days in between. It's not easy, but at least he has a job and that makes him one of the lucky ones.
Each year I try to write a little something on each of my kids' birthday. This year I'm kind of at a loss because the oldest, Michael, turns 18 today and that means that as far as the law is concerned he's an adult. An a-d-u-l-t. What the hell happened to the last 18 years?
Whatever. One of the reasons those 18 years have been such a blur is that time flies when you're having fun, and Michael definitely keeps things fun. Whether it's imitations of his teachers (God help our schools if he's even remotely close to being accurate) or verbatim scene reenactments from Monty Python, the kid's a natural comedian. Some day he may take his parents' advice and pursue his natural talent, but he's just as likely to do something totally unexpected. He has a tendency to think for himself and do what he thinks is best, much to our frustration, but it's gotten him this far so who am I to second guess? Oh right, I'm his Dad and it kind of comes with the job description.
Right now Michael's trying to figure out how he's going to survive a senior year with a brutal AP schedule while figuring out which college he wants to attend and also keeping his skills sharp on Xbox Live. I'm telling you life's much more complicated these days, what with figuring out AP science by day while playing Call of Duty against some ringer from the Ukraine at night. In my day we circled around the Atari and watched our buddies play Asteroids. Ah, simpler times. But I digress.
Whatever he decides to do Michael will be good at it. He's an amazing young man (I can't write kid anymore) and he has a heart of gold. Hopefully whatever he decides to do won't take him too far from home and, whatever it is, it will make him as happy as he's made his Old Man and his Old Man's better half.
Happy Birthday Big Michael.
Michael before the prom last spring
Michael enjoying our house painting
9-year-old Michael with his Mom and sister climbing the Grand Tetons.
Found on Flickr: Warholized Michael (I think he was fourteen)