My Tumultuous Teens

February 18th, 2011 by Tina

Living with teenagers can be a tricky and trying experience at times. They can be happy and carefree one minute, then, without warning, the storm clouds roll in, and they turn into surly, withdrawn creatures, barely making eye contact and communicating only with grunts and monosyllabic words. Then for no apparent  reason, the universe shifts once again, and they cheerfully ask, ‘What’s for dinner?’ It’s enough to make your head spin. There are moments when I long for what now seem like much simpler times: bubble baths and shampoo mohawks, seemingly endless bedtime stories, sticky fingers and faces, hugs, and little boy voices saying,  ‘I love you, Mommy.’ Now, instead of giggly bubble baths, there are never-ending showers that use up all the hot water. Instead of my putting the boys to sleep with a bedtime story (or two, or three), my boys wake me up late at night  to let me know they made it home safe and sound. The hugs have morphed into a kind of one-shoulder lean with no arms involved, over in an instant no matter how I try to hang on to them.

But of all the changes that have occurred through the years, the one that causes me to wonder what  I could have done differently as a parent is the response I get when I say, ‘I love you.’ Instead of a resounding ‘I love you too, Mommy!’ what I hear is ‘um hmm’ or ‘ok.’ I could let this strike me prostrate with grief, but instead I think back to my own teenage years and my surliness and mood swings with my own parents, and I realize it has nothing to do with me. It is all about my boys and the changes they are going through as they find their own way in the world. High school graduation, college, career choices, social pressures, and the occasional bad hair cut are all reasons to cause uncertainty and aggravation. Throw in some crazy woman clinging to their arms as they try to leave the house, and it’s no wonder all they can do is grunt. So, thank you Mom and Dad for your  patience, guidance, and unfailing love during my tumultuous teens, and for keeping your  snickers to a minimum as I bemoan my own trials as a parent of teenagers. I will continue to call out, ‘I love you, Buddy’ when my sons head out the door, and I’m doing a pretty good job.

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2 Responses to “My Tumultuous Teens”

  1. admin Says:

    From facebook by CM 2/18/11: “I may have said this here before but my daughter turned two the same year my eldest stepdaughter turned 13. I learned adolescence and toddlerhood are basically the same stage except the teens can manage the bathroom on their own and you can pick up and just move the toddler. Of the two, I think I prefer the latter.”

  2. Karen Says:

    This is a very timely entry for me and for that, I thank you. I came home today in a terrific mood on a beautiful early spring day. My husband and eleven year-old son were in equally good states of mind. Enter the thirteen year old son who indeed cast a shadow over a cheerful evening for no apparent reason. When asked about his day, the response was “fine” with an inviting ticked off at the world attitude. He denied any concerns or frustrations and angrily paced through the living room. When little brother and dad were not interested in kicking the soccer ball, I immediately jumped at the opportunity when invited. After just a few kicks, life was good again (phew!). Little brother heard the fun and, of course, quickly joined us. His mood has flipped two more times as the evening has continued.

    My goal is for him to be on the up swing when I kiss him good night and turn off his light ( of course I realize I am very fortunate that we still have a peaceful and loving bedtime routine)
    All together this has been a good night. We have certainly had worse days on the moodiness scale. On those rougher days, I always remember what my grandmother told me when I asked her the tips for staying married for over 60 years. “When the end of the day comes and you go to bed, always apologize for your part of the conflict and tell each other ‘I love you’”. So because each day is a new opportunity, these are the words of wisdom that guide my precious time with my boys.

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