I’m imagining what it must be like to be twelve. I have a twelve year old daughter. Just on the cusp of her teenage years. I can already see the hormones surge through her body. A palpable change. The start of her journey towards womanhood. How scary. How exciting. For her and us, her parents. We know we have to start easing up on the parental reigns. Give her a little more freedom. That’s a difficult task. She’s our oldest. This is the first time we’ve had to do this. We know how bad we were at her age. Boys, alcohol, cigarettes. No matter how humorous I make this article, the fact is that these are very serious topics, with possibly critical implications. I had my first period before my thriteenth birthday. That’s on the way for her. She already has her first bras and has started using deoderant. Neither of which she needs, but wanted.
We had a very rough morning just now. Cursing, tantrumming, slamming doors. Where did my baby go? Who is this replacement person? How long will this stage last? Will it really be four years? Really? That means I have ten years of teenagers ahead of me. Is there some summer camp-esque for teenagers. Maybe year round. Maybe overnight too? I promise I’ll visit once a week. Well certainly once a month. For the whol day. Well maybe a few hours. The day I found out I was pregnant on my daughter, one of the first thoughts that went through my head, was that I would have a teenager in thirteen years. This is not some attempt at humor. It is truly what I thought and felt in that moment. Here I am. Nearly thirteen years later. On the brink of madness. Oh my prophetic soul.
If anyone out there has some magical potion for teenagehood, please share now. I presume that doesn’t exists, because the owner would be famous and more rich than Bill Gates. Maybe he knows. He has kids. He’s a big (no massive) nerd, but also seems to have a great relationship with his wife, and I imagine doesn’t take shit as a dad. He’s rich, intelligent, has his shit together, and actually seems to care about people. He should give life lessons to everyone about everything. Well maybe Linux heads wouldn’t attend. I understand the struggle. It’s real. However, just because you don’t like the operating system someone developed, doesn’t mean you should discount everything about that person. Heresy, I know. Until Bill starts giving parenting classes I need to come up with an alternative plan. Maybe it could be a ‘bury my head in the sand’ plan. I doubt the outcome would be great for my kids if I take that route.
Everyone says boys are easier than girls. Certainly in my family of origin that held true. There were four of us growing up. Two girls, a boy, then me. My brother was by far the easiest. Kept to himself. Did normal teenage things, but nothing crazy. The oldest girl had trouble socially and being the oldest didn’t help. The other two of us were complete pains in the arse. Drove our parents nuts. Were a constant source of worry. With my current kids, whatever stage, my son, who’s twelve, is showing himself by far to be the easiest. Of course I cannot predict the future. Who knows how things will pan out. Just because girls tend to be more emotional, does not mean that boys don’t go off the rails and wreak havoc. We all know that can, and often does, happen. My son has been sick the last three days. Sore throat, headache, puking, and fever. He’s been very clingy at times, and whimpering, but not whining. Most of the time he just reads or plays on his tablet or reads or plays with his Lego. He often asks for hugs which I lavish upon him. He’s always be my most physically affectionate child. In fact affectionate child all together. I’m trying to get as much love out of him as possible. Fifteen year old boys don’t snuggle up to their moms.
The teenage years are doubly tough. You’re losing your beautiful amazing kid to some evil metamorphosis. A process that takes several awful years. And what do you get at the end? A child who no longer hugs you. No longer looks at you with awe. No longer runs to you with their questions about the world, that crack you up because of their bizarreness. What you get is a barely adult child. It is great to see that they have grown. That they are heading towards self-sufficiency. The loss of what went before is heart-breaking. Different phases are hard to take. Kids truly grow up too fast, as every parent says everywhere. At the end of the teenage years, many kids move out. Move on. And we are only left with memories. Of a child that broke our heart over and over. In positive and negative ways. Of course we’re proud. This was what the journey is for. It reminds us of our mortality. All this tied up in the teenage years. The wish to have them over with. Then when they are, the realization that we spent several years of our child’s life wishing it away. That is sad. All that said….
I wonder if Bill and Melinda Gates would adopt my kids for a few years?