I am officially in the thick of my kids teenage years. I don’t know if anyone can ever say they are prepared for it, I surely am not. I have 2 teenagers in my house, a boy and a girl. It seems that overnight, the 2 beings that make up my world have been replaced by two alternate beings that are out to contest my every thought and effort. I know I sound dramatic, but I’m downplaying !
Most of what I do is met with that teenage eye roll. (you know the one) They are complete experts at everything, incredibly busy, supremely important, and want to be left alone, yet fed and driven in a moments notice, and tended to when sick ( I actually like that part). Even when these things get accomplished, they still seem deeply annoyed. They also have an expectation that I am a superhero that never needs, gets ill, sits, and has endless time and money to provide them with.
Their pediatrician empathetically shared that their brains literally shut off when they are teenagers and then one day the light switches back on and they are normal again. She said this would happen at around 20-23 !! Um what ?????
I must say that I am nostalgic and a bit heartsick for the days of taking naps with them and just laying at home watching Barney for the 20th time. The days seemed so long back then, but I miss the simplicity of the pace and the closeness that followed.
I still walk into their rooms every night and I give them kisses and sometimes I just watch them sleeping. Oh how I miss those days of just snuggling in bed with them or how they had to have me lay down with them at night to fall asleep. It was difficult then, but I would gladly trade a day of teenage wrangling for a night of holding their tiny bodies in a toddler bed.
The change was imminent and I knew it, as I myself lived through it, but there is something that feels almost primal when your own child departs from you. It is like a loss that is expected and natural, yet when it arrives it feels so very unnatural. As I gaze at their sleeping teenage faces, I still see those tiny little people that showed me a new kind of love that is so exhilarating yet terrifying too. I’m in the terrifying right now. The world is so big that they are stepping into and they are not wanting to hold my hand as they proceed all that much. I watch my emotions and all that I relive through their victories and heartbreaks. I want to shield them from the temptation of drugs and alcohol that will surely find its way onto their path. I want to stand in front of them like a barrier and show them that those experiences only result in a lack of power. I want to whisper in their ear when they invest in relationships that aren’t healthy, and place them directly in front of the ones that will be more tender with their hearts. I want to reach in and grab their intuition and tell them that we all have it and to follow because it is critical. I want to hold up a mirror so that they can see the greatness and goodness that I see in them so that they may know that loving themselves is the most important love of all.
Then, I take a deep breath and I realize that my only job is to love them just as they are and to lead by example. To show them what integrity, loyalty, intuition, love and strength looks like through how I choose to live and how I choose to clean up the messes I make.
That’s the real truth and where the safety lays. The more I move into acceptance of this truth the bigger my trust in them becomes and the braver my heart grows. Hopefully all of that love will spill over and pave the way as they walk their individual winding paths. The 2 things I am certain of when I look at them is that they have mastered the eye roll and that they are loved with every single fiber of my being.