Friday, April 2, 2010

Hello? Boot Camp?

So in reading other blogs across the internet, I've discovered a few things. Many blogs I've come across (by hitting that nifty button in the middle up there that says "next blog" - don't do it now! Read this first and then peruse blogland) Like I was saying, many blogs I've come across have to do with offspring.

These are the blogs that tell wonderful funny stories about delightful children, who coincidentally fall within the age range of 0 to 12 years old. There are a few TMI moments I've run across with detailed descriptions of potty training and such, but for the most part I've enjoyed reading about charming Meredith's knock knock jokes and handsome Bobby's t-ball game.

Though it has seemed in my blog travels that children past pre-teenhood frequently disappear off the map. Their once diligent parents who posted photos have now set down their cameras and let them collect dust. Blogs are not updated; there are no more sweet stories to make readers smile. And I'm going to tell you why:

Being the parent of a teenager sucks the very life out of you.

Let me put it another way: When you are dealing with creatures who exist in a land of messy rooms, raging hormones, hours of homework, non-stop raiding of the pantry and fridge, and general disregard for any authority, you don't have time to blog. When you have exhausted all punishments and begin to think that boot camp sounds like it would make a really interesting summer vacation for your son, you are beyond exhausted yourself. When you are being told by your teenager that he is never going to speak to you again (and secretly, you are thinking that a few days of peace and quiet actually sound delicious), you aren't sure if you should really let the world know how badly it is going in your home at the moment.

Most times, as parents of teenagers, we don't want to admit it. We don't want others to know we've "failed." That we didn't raise perfect kids. That sweet Meredith went from telling knock knock jokes at 5 to swearing like Blago's wife at 15. That handsome Bobby doesn't play ball any longer but he has made it a sport to see how many piercings he can use as facial decor.

And so, in our silence, we perpetuate the myth that somewhere out there, other people are barely working up a sweat raising their teenagers. That in the house across the street, everyone is smiling and happy, voices never raised, doors never slammed. That we don't all have those moments where we wish we could get in our car and drive far far away.

But I'm going to admit it. I'm having an extremely difficult time dealing with a teenage son. He's a great kid deep down. Today, that's way deep down in the one corner of his heart that he doesn't hold absolute disgust for me at this moment. But I digress...

I try, really try, to be the best parent I can. But being that parent I need to be means that I can't be his friend too. Which often means that there are arguments in my home. Voices escalate. Barbs are thrown. And lately, the only way to end it is for us to stay apart, him mumbling under his breath in his room, me worrying about him in mine.

I miss the kid. I miss the hugs and the times he used to want to spend with his mom. But I'm hoping, at some point, he's going to be older, and truly wiser - not just "I'm smarter than everyone because all adults are stupid" wiser. And I'm hoping, at some point, he's going to come to me and give me that hug where I know that he finally gets it. I'm betting that will take a while. And probably take a door slammed in his home by an unruly adolescent of his own.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A love letter

My dear April, 4th month of our calendar year, how you are loved. I'm so thankful you have returned; please unpack your bags and stay a while.

You are sunshine bleaching out the last bit of greyness from my winter. You are fingers free of mitten's clutches. You are windows open while I sleep so that the birds can chirp me awake again in the morning. You are warmth.

You are mists that make me turn my smiling face to the sky to soak it in. You are fat raindrops that make me stomp my joyful feet through puddles. You are loud booming thunderclouds before the torrents arrive, giving the children plenty of time to jump into bed for a parent's embrace. You are cleansing.

You are the softest young grass that feels precious upon my toes. You are squishy, noisy mud that makes my children laugh and my laundry double. You are my favorite bouquet of daffodils, tulips and irises. You are blooming.

You are nourishing to my soul, my dear April, and you are worth far more than 30 days of celebration...You are a favorite friend.

Welcome home.