There must be a special portion of grace set aside for mothers of teenagers everywhere…
I sometimes have this strong desire to talk to other mothers who have teenagers. I want to know if that feeling of being out-gunned and out-maneuvered will ever go away.
I’m not too hopeful, but I’ll take what I can get.
I have a fifteen-year-old. I know, that doesn’t seem too bad. After all, he does the laundry, cleans up after himself, empties the dishwasher and makes good mac and cheese, to the unmeasured delight of his younger brother. Most days, I’m proud of the kid, even when he leaves the pot in the sink to soak, for twenty-four hours straight.
Several nights back, I walked into his room to check up on whether he remembered he was supposed to clean up that day.
I found him stretched out on his bed, grinning up at me.
“Look, Mom,” he gestured, “I even folded the tops down, just like you do.”
I looked. He did indeed fold down the tops of his blankets neatly.
Then I glanced around his bedroom. It was still a mess, however.
Naturally he wanted me to focus on the part he managed to clean up.
I gave him a pointed look, and left without another word.
He remained where he was, unperturbed, looking much like Merry and Pippin when Aragorn and company found them near the guardhouse, blowing smoke rings.
I left him alone, knowing he’d eventually find his way through the obstacle course on his floor.
Dear heart, three years—that’s all I have left before the boy leaves for college. It’s a scary thought, one I’m sure so many other mothers have had before me. How am I supposed to get him ready for the world when most days I feel like I’m simply trying to catch up? I mean, sure, there’s also excitement for the life that’s waiting out there for him. But there’s a bigger need to get the boy ready, and how will that happen when I’m always feeling like I’m out of my depth?
“I’ll be thinking of you…” My friend A said, smiling as I waved goodbye. “I know it’s going to be hard, so hang in there.”
In a few weeks, the boy is going on his first medical mission trip, to a country that’s not exactly known for its safety. He’s going with his dad, which ups the ante. Now that it’s almost time, I get minutes where I start panicking…
Then my friend’s words come to me.
This parenting thing, it’s hard.
You want a safe, cushioned life for your kids. But more than that, you want them to be Frodos, standing up and stepping in.
When your kid is a teenager, the world starts to open up with opportunities to do just that.
And you’re left reeling, feeling like you’re living on borrowed time.
The results of years spent teaching and preparing them start to show. Be they good or bad, you’re given a preview of what’s coming next.
Hold on tight.
A few days ago, after spending a miserable hour on the elliptical, I said, to no one in particular, that everything went downhill after my pregnancies.
The boy looked up from where he lay sprawled on the couch with his dog and said, “I’m sorry. Thank you. We love you.”
And just like that, I sank into my extra weight without regret, and promised I’d get back on the elliptical the next day.
Dear mothers with teenagers, there’s definitely an extra cup of joy for us.
We deserve it, because while motherhood may be a sacred calling, it’s also a wild ride.
Gather your children close while they are under your roof.
The days are coming when phone calls will have to do.