I remember the date so well. August 15th 2002. I just stood and stared as toothpaste dripped out of the corner of my mouth. That’s how I knew my mouth was hanging open. I was so shocked. I was pregnant!
How the heck did that happen? Well, obviously, I knew, but it seemed so crazy to me that I was going to be a mother. I think that even if you are trying to get pregnant, you’re never really prepared for the shock/surprise/excitement of finding out. The next 9 months are spent planning and dreaming of your child. Who will he or she be? What kind of Mom will you be? No one tells you what you’re in for.
And I’m not talking about sleepless nights, and the “Terrible Twos”. Sure, that’s tough. And no offence to the Mommy’s in that boat, because it is challenging. But girlfriend, let me tell you something, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Get ready because the real work comes in about 10 years. The teen years is when shit gets real.
Here’s how the parenting journey goes. One day, after family dinner and bedtime routine, you put your beautiful, sweet, smiling boy to bed and freaking Godzilla wakes up the next day. Nothing you say is correct (including “hello”) and he argues and fights with you at every turn. Then suddenly, he stops trying at school. Complete halt in all scholastic efforts. When you get phone calls from teachers and you ask him what’s going on, he tells you that school is dumb and boring and he doesn’t actually need it to succeed in life.
Wait! What? Hellooooooo? Have you seen our world today? (Of course not, he’s 14!) Unless you have at least an undergrad you aren’t getting very far. Well, maybe if you’re an entrepreneur, and from the effort I’ve seen him put forth lately, I don’t hold out much hope in that department. Gah! He leaves me scratching my head sometimes.
Not that he isn’t capable. He is SO CAPABLE. He is beyond capable. He is kind, loving, funny and loyal. That is when he’s not angry, sullen and withdrawn. But like Forrest Gump says, “You never know what you’re gonna get”. If only life were like a box of chocolates…
There are loads of books written about parenting teenagers. But I haven’t read any of them because #life and #notime. But I think I need to get my hands on anything I can to give me support. Lately, I find that I am reaching out to any resource as if there were a life raft and I’m drowning in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Sound drastic? I’m sure it does.
And then, a miracle happens! He smiles at me. Or makes a joke. Or we have a pleasant and meaningful conversation and I see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I just need to hang on and be strong and keep the boundaries in place. He will thrash against them. Didn’t I do the same to my parents’ lame old rules? That’s his job right now. And my job is to be there and to love him through it all. Because he is worth it. He is my number one job right now. I am responsible for creating a prosperous adult out of this infuriating adolescent.
Someone asked me the other day if I could go back in time to 2002 me, would I warn myself? I thought hard about that, because I was having a particularly challenging day with him. No, I wouldn’t. I would just hug me tight and congratulate myself and I would let it all unfold as it did. Messy and wonderful. Because at the end of the day, I would still choose to be a mom. Every. Single. Day. And I have wine, so that helps.
Peace, love and an open heart,
Don’t forget to sign up for the DoTheDaniel.com Newsletter