I was perusing the internet this morning reading some blogs that I have never read before. I am trying to find some new blogs to read in the mornings as I enjoy my cup of coffee. I get one hour in the morning to myself. One hour of peace and quiet before other people interrupt my solitude and demands that seem endless start piling up. Many of the blogs that I read are political in nature, and I catch the news that way. Still I would like to read something more entertaining. And so I have begun a search for blogs that I can relate to.
Teen parenting is hard. I think the only people that get it are parents of other teens. Being a teenager at one time does not give you understanding. Not until you are trying to parent these people that are basically adults but are being supressed by our society into this thing called adolescence can you truly understand. These people with hormones so erratic that they can hug you one minute and cry the next. We don’t remember. (Well, maybe I am starting to remember a little. Turning 40 will do that to you.)
And I worry all the time. There is a new show out there called “The Neighbors”. It is a show about a family that moves into a neighborhood that is all aliens. I have only watched one episode. The show is Ok, but there was one line in the show that made me say a hearty “Amen!” The alien mom was telling the human mom that she worries a lot. That the worry keeps her up at night. The human mom says (and this may not be an exact quote), “Oh, honey. Moms don’t sleep. We just worry with our eyes closed.”
Is that not the truth? Life with teens has made me worry more than I know that I ever should. When has worry ever solved anything? Only never.
At some point, the realization comes upon you that you have less control over your child’s life. You can talk until you are blue in the face, but that is all that it will be is talk. They may or may not take your advice, and there isn’t much you can do about it. I lie awake some nights and wonder if what I see as my children’s shortcomings are my fault. Are they even shortcomings at all? Probably not, but that doesn’t make me feel much better. Those little people with those little personalities that I found so charming have grown up. And you know what? They aren’t that much different. Their personalities are still the same, but their bodies are taller. And they have to shave.
Have I done it right? Did I do this parenting thing right? Did I give my kids all the chances they needed to be successful adults? I think we are overwhelmed with parenting advice out there. Books upon books. Magazines. And heaven help us all, the internet. If I do this, then my child will be like this. Take feeding them for example. If you only feed your babies vegetables, they will never develop a sweet tooth. Feed them green slushies made with kale and your kids will be healthy with the best start in life. No one tells you that when they get their driver’s license and a bit of their own money they will drive to the grocery store, buy a 2-Liter of Dr. Pepper and some Klondike bars, and proceed to finish them off in one weekend. What are you going to do about it? Do you really want to fight that battle? Of course not. Instead you struggle with irrational jealousy that they can eat all that and not gain a single ounce.
But before you think I have it under control, I have also told them under no circumstances are they living in my basement. You better get it together becuase I will not have it. Please, go get a job! Do you think money grows on trees? How are you going to pay for college? What do you mean that essay isn’t written yet? What have you been doing all day? Don’t tell me that you don’t have any clean socks. You know where the wash machine is. Oh, please. You do so know how to use it. I have only showed you 5 trillion times. No, I don’t know where your wallet is. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to be watching it. It is probably buried under the clean clothes in your room that didn’t seem to make it in the drawer even though I folded them for you because that is just how awesome I am.
But then there are the coffee days. “Mom, do you want to run to Starbucks? I will buy you a coffee.” How I cherish those days. The late nights that I have spent worrying are forgotten, and we drive to Starbucks and enjoy a coffee together. They talk to me about politics and romance, the internet and comic books. Sometimes the best discussions happen over a white chocolate mocha. When did they start thinking like adults? Who is this person? It is a small glimpse of the adult they are becoming. A small burst of hope enters into my heart with the knowledge that maybe things will be OK after all.
But then it can be gone in a flash. I know they think that I don’t know what I am talking about. There is no way that I can possibly understand how they feel. They feel as if they have no control. All their decisions are being made for them. Oh, but if they knew. If they knew how many times I wanted to say something and didn’t. How many times I have held back and told them that I loved them instead of what I really wanted to say. Sometimes what I really want to say comes out. They disappear for the rest of the day, and I wonder if I have crushed our relationship. But they come out hours later as if nothing ever happened, and I don’t know whether to weep with relief or scream in frustration that they can blow me off so easily.
It is such a roller coaster. You teach them about things and pray they listened. Are they going to make it when they leave the house? Please Lord, don’t let me fail in this. Let my relationship with them endure these years. My son sits now next to me enjoy his morning cup of coffee. He tells me what Greg Gutfield is tweeting. He tells me that he doesn’t care that Lindsay Lohan is now endorsing Mitt Romney. Angry Birds is coming out with a Star Wars game. Who knew? He tells me that he finished another short story last night. I sit here and wish he would get his hair cut. I won’t tell him that right now. I bite my tongue for the first of what will be many times today. We will finish our coffee together while I finish this post and he reads his facebook.
He just smiled at me. I will take it.