Teenage Friendships and The Role Of Food

Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon) penalty kick in the Heieneken Cup (Photo credit: Sum_of_Marc)

Kurt has had a best friend for a while now.

He got to know him at the performing arts school he started at last year, just before the unfortunate series of events that led to the gaping hole in his classroom wall which escalated another fresh start at another new school this year. Those security cameras can be a bitch.

Apparently the school still hasn’t mended that hole in the wall, in spite of them demanding vast sums of hush money from us to pay for the damage, so that the good name of our son would not be tarnished.

One day we will laugh at these things. *reaches for medication*

Anyway, Kurt’s friend is a tall, rugby-playing, actor-type friend who physically and mentally is the complete antithesis of our son. And yet, mysteriously, they have made a connection.

They share an obvious passion for performance and playing the fool and they laugh at each other’s silly, sixteen year old boy-humour which mostly seems to involve farting. But what I find particularly endearing about their relationship is that this boy is not afraid to challenge Kurt and tell him when he thinks when he has crossed a line. And Kurt actually listens to him.

On a personal level, the second best thing about this boy, (which makes me sound uncharacteristically like Martha Stewart), is that he has a healthy appetite for food, and because his mum lives far away in Queensland, he has virtually taken permanent weekend residency at our house; so I get to feed him a lot.

Rather like the ducks they feed to make foie gras.

I’d like to pretend and say that the attraction of staying at our house lies with my home cooking, but alas, I’d obviously be talking out of my ass.

Yet in spite of the fact that I have never served up a home-made apple pie or rice pudding, this boy demolishes everything I put in front of him without complaint. Unlike my son who has no interest in food and makes every mealtime the equivalent of going ten rounds with Mike Tyson.

American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, and the American flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend that this boy is also my son and that I did something right. I would never exchange Kurt for this boy, because I know that Kurt has been sent to me for many reasons. My son may not eat anything with onions or cheese in it but he makes me laugh out loud at the quirkiness of his humor and swell with pride when he sings to me, and secretly I do suspect that there is some measure of genius within him.

But most importantly, I love him unconditionally and it seems that the more chaos he creates in our lives, the more I love him that little bit more, (although obviously, I would never tell him that).

But the way kids treat their parents is often different to how they behave with their friends’ parents. Just as I am certain that when Kurt and NC are at their friends’ houses, they remember their Ps and Qs, I know for a fact that when Kurt goes to this boy‘s house, he and the dad always have a massive jamming session together.

And so, when Kurt’s friend finishes every leftover from my fridge that I offer him with that big, goofy, appreciative grin and a ‘thank you, Mrs Simmonds,’ I’m ashamed to admit that my heart skips a few beats.

A little appreciation goes a long way.

There used to be a kids television programme in the UK called Swap Shop where you swapped a toy for something else you wanted. Sometimes I wonder if we could borrow Kurt’s friend for special events and do a sort of teenage swap for events like the school parents evening, which is looming perilously closer in my calendar; or when we have to visit family. Kurt’s friend’s parents could borrow Kurt for the end of term music show or if they needed some contraband.

Kurt told me that the other day his friend asked him if he thought he was my favourite of Kurt’s friends and I found myself blushing.

#Family #Food #Humour #teenagers #Eating #Friendship #Cooking #Relationships #Parenting

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