They’ve shoveled mounds of snow from the driveway in the winter.  They’ve hauled rocks, dirt and bricks this spring.  They’re mowing the lawn again.  They’re doing grunt work because they have a goal.  They want to save up enough money to buy their own laptop computer.  It’s been a long haul.  Mama doesn’t pay top wages and they’re expected to work in the cold, in the heat and in the mosquitoes.  No work, no pay in this household.

There have been the unexpected boons.  Surprise money for good report cards from the grandparents.  More money than they thought they’d get at birthdays.  All those loonies and twoonies, quarters, dimes and nickels have slowly been amassing in the savings pot.  I can’t tell you the number of times the pot has been tipped and counted.

They’ve faithfully checked the Future Shop flyer in the hopes that something they want is on sale.  Yes.  They know exactly what they want.  It has to have certain features.  It’s been discussed among the two of them and researched on the old beast (our current somewhat dated computer).

They came to me somewhat excitedly with the news that they could finally afford a laptop and showed me the sale on the front of the Future Shop flyer.  Even though I’ve known this day was coming, I have secretly hoped that they would give up on saving and buy something simpler like baseball gloves or cameras.  Technology makes me nervous.  The old beast is in the kitchen, a very prominent place in our home, so that I can see exactly what it is being used for.  I want to know what they are looking at and researching.  I’m wise enough to know that even innocent searches can lead to “bad sites” but I feel powerless to control that.  What will happen when the laptop can be taken anywhere and used?  I’ve let them know that I can come in anytime and see what they’re up to on it.  They roll their eyes at me and assure me that they won’t do anything bad.  I tell them that kids who are going on bad sites aren’t telling their mothers about it.  That’s why moms have to be nosy and check up on growing boys.  It’s annoying to them but I tell them honestly that it’s an act of love on my part.

We went out as a family to pick up the new beast.  Big sigh of relief.  They were sold out.  We got a raincheck finding out that a new shipment was coming in the next day.  The words, “I’ll go and pick it up tomorrow for you then,” tumbled out of my mouth before I could even think.  I had said it.  Now they expected me to do it.  That’s the way it is in our home.  If mom makes a promise the boys hold her to it.  They expect her word to be law.

Yesterday was the promised tomorrow.  I did go and sure enough the store had just gotten in a fresh shipment of new beasts.  Such a tiny thing.  I could carry it under one arm.  So light too.  The boys saw it the minute they got home from school and pounced excitedly on it.  I wondered if they could get it working.  No problems there.  They had it up and running in no time flat.  I had to laugh when one boy played poker on the new beast against the other boy playing the same game on the old one.  Obviously very fun.  They started out yelling up and down the stairs at each other but then switched to communicating through the computers.  Too funny.  Fourteen stairs and a little bit of hallway separated them and they were talking electronically.

They were back at it again this morning before school.  It’s like a new best friend they jointly own.  All theirs.  No waiting for mama to upload her pictures or type her blog.  No waiting for DA to finish downloading his books or researching his airplanes.  They can play their games without waiting or scheduling.  It’s a novel concept to them.

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I still don’t know if this was a great idea on my part.  Yes.  They’re allowed to earn money and save it for whatever they want but mama still has veto power.  It wasn’t that long ago that I said “no” to stink bomb ingredients.  Not only am I a tad bit worried about the loss of control a moving computer brings, I’m also wondering how joint ownership will go.  Life is so much easier when everything is owned by just one person.  That person gets to decide what happens or doesn’t happen with their possession.  Now the boys will have to consult each other and work out differences as I’m sure controversy over the new beast and her use will follow.  Perhaps good life experience.  At some point they will have to work on a team or live with a room mate where things are equally owned.  Maybe one day they will even get married and have children.  Life is about learning to work together on something that matters to both parties.  Yes.  I need to see this as a stage in growing up and an opportunity to teach them valuable skills.  Growing up and opportunities mean that there can be failure.  I have to be willing for that.  They have to learn now in the little things before I launch them out into the world where decisions can have far weightier consequences.  Sigh.  If only this was easier.  Risk is always difficult, especially for a mother who just wants to keep her little boys safe.  They’re not so little anymore and I must accept that.  I can’t control every facet of their world.  What I can do is instruct them as best I know how so that they’ll have internal controls, a sense of what is right and what is wrong.  I can help shape their conscience so that sin is known and bothers them.  I can teach them where to go to find strength to resist evil and choose the right.  I can tell them what to do to find peace of mind when they do mess up.  This is motherhood.  This is difficult.

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