This day started out like any other.  I woke up.  That’s where the similarities end.  After that it was all downhill and man, I should have just crawled back in bed.  Our morning was so epically bad that after that sweet yellow savior, carrying the last of the Smalls, pulled away, I took the pups on a walk and cried for nearly a mile and a half.  The last half mile was just those awful hiccups that feel like your diaphragm is going to eject itself.  Can we talk about teenagers for a sec?

If you’re the mama of littles, just skip this post.  No, seriously. The phase you’re in is hard enough and you’ll not want to eat this bitter pill.  If toddlers are like bipolar, drunken trolls, then teenagers are like someone coming off meth.  Euphoric one moment, devastated the next; teens speak in all caps and interjections.  Their passionate words are either directed down their shirt (and they HATE being admonished not to mumble) or right down your throat.  They can reduce grown parents to self-doubting, angst ridden middle schoolers. I’ve never been so unsure of myself and my old yearbooks pay testimony to some rocky phases of development.  I think I’m being so kind and understanding.  I use phrases like,

how can I help you?

and remember how I said no one ever wishes to redo middle school?, well, the same can be said of high school.  

and I’m here for you.

and You’ll be ok, son.  We will all be ok.

Honestly, the last one is mostly just for me.  Prolly 45% of the time they are delightful and witty and it’s like hanging out with a friend.  They get your jokes and if you slip and swear, they won’t repeat it to their kindergarten teacher at share time the next day.  Sometimes teenagers are the best sort of people.  But other times, they can take any confidence you’ve gained in your years of parenting and crush it beneath their man sized shoes.  Which you paid for even though you think they look like grandpa shoes and they are white, which is all kinds of stupid. Teenagers think they own the world and should run it too.  They have an advanced degree in everything and you barely have your GED. Raising teenagers is like being a remedial student at Harvard.  You barely dare speak. They live to tell you what you are doing wrong, which is everything.  They want to bring their friends over, but they only want you to buy wings and root beer, not tell the Hey Steve joke that you know to be fun-nay.  You will scour the mall for the right pants that are the perfect sort of cool.  They will stare at it like it’s a box of Kotex.  They will spend hours in the bathroom in the morning.  They will use every towel, leaving them to dry in a crusty mess on the floor, amidst empty rolls of toilet paper that never make it into the trash. You will offer suggestions on how to do their hair so that it doesn’t look like someone has used BrylCreem on it.  This will not go over well.  Never mess with a teenager’s hair.  Even if you nail it, you will fail.  You will be convinced that it makes perfect sense to spend $21 on a teeny bottle of hair gel at the salon because getting between a teen and their hair dresser’s advice is like stepping in front of a bull dotted with a matador’s spears.  Wearing red and holding a cape. You will insist on tucking them at bedtime, saying the Aaronic blessing over them like you’ve done every night since they were born. Some nights they will turn to the wall and say, “Can you just leave me alone? I’m so tired.”

But some nights they will melt into you and you will scratch their back and tell them how proud you are to be their mama.  You will tell them that if you could line up every teenager in the world, you would walk that line until you found them and you would take them home, no matter how long it took or if your shoes were killing you. You will peek in on them while they sleep and pray over their adultish bodies and you will remember when they were a nearly naked little bean, tucked inside your robe, teeny self satiated on your milk and making kitten sounds.  You will remember when they first said words and how they insisted on going everywhere with their yellow blanket.  These memories will make your eyes water and your heart melt.  You will almost not be able to stand it. Every snarky, jackass thing they said that day will fall away like scales and you would, in that moment and every moment, give your very life to spare them pain.

These days I’m certain of very little, but I’m sure of this, mamas, raising a teenager is like sailing a dingy through the Bermuda Triangle.  The survival rate is low and you will feel sick sometimes.  But at the end, there will be land and I will be on it welcoming you to the other side.  I will have drinks with little umbrellas and a lounge chair with a pile of must-reads next to it.  And we will have adult conversation and I will tell you how smart and wonderful you are and you will reciprocate.  And when we have been restored and can once again make intelligent and witty conversation, we will invite our families to join us.  They haven’t been as wrecked by teens maybe, so they won’t need all the pampering.  Families can just come for the swimming and the company. And they can fly there because it’s faster and easier.  Siblings don’t always have as much skin in the game but they are deserving of the party just the same.  You’ll meet me there, won’t you?  Only give me about 15 years.  I have 6 teenagers to raise.

this is me being real.


2 Replies to “teen.”

  1. You always say things so well and these teen years are what make you say “Yes, you can go to college. Go!” because you have just gotten dumber and dumber for the last 4 years. But then I’m here to say you get smart again and after a few years of college, they come home for visits and it’s really fun and they are pleasant toward you again. It’s sort of like pregnancy. By 9 months you’re like “whatever it takes”. By the end of senior year, it was usually clear it was time to go, although still hard for the mama who can’t believe it’s already that time. Stay on that dinghy and cling to Jesus!


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