Saturday, November 30, 2013

These Terrible, Wonderful Teenage Years

How exactly I went from having two toddlers and a baby, to having three teenagers still baffles me. This transition seems to have happened overnight and I slept through it. I vaguely remember that teething is the pits, diapers and formula are expensive, (but not even comparable to feeding three teens) and trying to juggle my work schedule with Cliff's so we didn't have to pay day care. Mostly I remember that holding my baby next to my heart was the sweetest feeling in the world. 

Every stage from birth up until now has had it's own rewards and challenges. I really enjoyed having little ones. Watching them grow and learn gave me great pleasure. Now they are nearly grown and don't need me so much. Having a crying baby was easier to cope with than a crying teenager, I just didn't know it then. Now the "terrible twos" don't seem so terrible at all.

If you are a parent who doesn't handle minor issues like vomit on your clothes or tantrums in the toy aisle you will not survive the teenage years. They are not for sissies. You will collapse on the floor in the fetal position and beg to be medicated for the next seven years. 

Learning how to navigate these in-between childhood and adult years are tricky. The relationship takes on a new dynamic. You have to figure it out as you go. 

You have to deal with such joys like finding cheap, reliable cars for them. No easy task there. We got lucky once, with Rebecca's car. Rachel's has been more difficult. We are still working on getting her behind the wheel. 

Then come the broken hearts. I must have some super natural maternal instinct there, because I know immediately whether the guy is good news or bad news. Even before I meet him, if I've heard the girls talk about him, I know. And yes. I have said the dreaded, "I told you so," a time or two. 

Feeding three teenagers is just a lost cause. They can plow through a pantry faster than greased lightning. There are at least a dozen other expenses that were nonexistent when I was a teen. When they started wanting me to buy iTunes cards I asked why they couldn't just download music illegally off the internet like everyone else.  Pathetic, I know. They said they had tried, but it gave the computer a virus. Great. There are iTunes, iPads, iPhones, iPods, all these gadgets come out with new versions every six months.  I'm convinced it's only because parents buy them for their spoiled, rich kids. It's not nice because kids like mine want all the new stuff too, but I can't afford to feed them and keep them updated with the newest iToy.

There are plenty of proud moments as a mom of teenagers. It's really not all bad. When they graduate with honors and get a full scholarship, it doesn't get any better than that! Except for maybe when they took their first steps. Yesterday....