Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Raising Teenagers: 5 Reasons Why I Like Teens More Than Toddlers

“She had been a teenager once, and she knew that, despite the apparent contradictions, a person's teenage years lasted well into their fifties.”
― Derek Landy

Thing 2 and Thing 1: Busch Gardens 2015
Recently, Things 1 and 2 accompanied me on our Annual Great Spring Break Amusement Park Adventure.  For the past 7 years, we have raced, spun, screamed and catapulted for a day or two at Carowinds, Busch Gardens, Kings Dominion and Six Flags Over Georgia.

It hasn't always been easy.

The first year, Thing 2 couldn't even ride the big rides (even though he desperately wanted to) and Thing 1 couldn't have cared less about the rides or the Great Adventure.  I have wheedled and pleaded and begged these children over the years to embrace the Great Adventure and understand the magic that happens on road trips.  They have steadfastly refused to participate in my reindeer games.  I have been irritated and tired and far more cranky than I should but I have steadfastly refused to give up this tradition I created out of thin air in desperation to give these two kids whose lives I managed to ruin by divorcing their dad (OK, so a few guilt issues there...) a few bright and happy memories of their Part-Time Life with Mom.

This year, it all came together.

Yes, there was eye-rolling.  And irritation.  And boredom.  And it was MAGIC.  I realized this year that my kids have finally become more like...well...me.  They are no longer the short people I can't fathom.  They are eye-level purveyors of wit, sarcasm and barbed zingers who eat when they're hungry, drink when they're thirsty and sleep when they're tired.  Practically adults.

I started thinking about WHY I seem to love them SO MUCH MORE now that they're big kids in adult clothing.

  1. They don't need me as much.  I'm just not one of those people who need to be needed.  I prefer that you take care of your own business and leave me to mine.  Every now and again we can meet in the middle to discuss life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Things 1 and 2 can take care of their own bodily functions.  They can fix a sandwich.  They don't ask me constant questions about why, who, where, what, when that I (mostly) patiently answered when they were toddlers.  
  2.  They fight sarcasm with sarcasm.  Admittedly, I started using sarcasm well before these two were probably ready for it.  Sure, I TRIED the syrupy sweetness of parenting when they were younger.  (Fine, I didn't try terribly hard.)  But, as they grew taller, my sarcasm grew stronger.  Now, these two are teaching me a thing or two.  Their sarcasm seems somehow kinder than mine.  So, I'm learning a few gentle techniques to launch barbs and zingers into the crowd.  Thanks, Thing 1 and Thing 2. Grasshoppers, you are ready (sniff...so proud!).
  3. They can entertain themselves.  At the end of a long day at the park, I showered and dove into bed with a novel.  We talked a bit but, for the most part, they were content to absorb themselves in their own pursuits so I could happily ignore them to unwrap a few chapters of the book I had been waiting to get back to all day.
  4. They are introspective.  While Thing 2 shot ahead, Thing 1 and I were able to stroll leisurely together and talk about what's going on in his life.  I learned a lot in these few magical snippets of conversation.  He's introverted so, trust me, I take every opportunity to let him come to me.  I appreciate so much his point of view on things and his thoughtful consideration of things that I had no idea he was even aware of.   
  5. I enjoy their company.  They have their own ideas.  They disagree with me on...well...a LOT of topics.  But I respect those disagreements.  These two are not an extension of me; rather, they are two completely separate and mysterious beings who I (somehow) was blessed with ushering into the world.
Don't get me wrong.  I have attempted to pause and breathe and enjoy every bit of this life I have been given with these two.  I made choices along the way to parent intentionally and to engage with them throughout every stage.  I managed the baby years.  I navigated the toddler years as best I could.  I plugged away during the childhood years.  But, these teenage years?  To me, they are simply awe-inspiring as I watch them take all those building blocks of life and put them together in a way that's entirely different from what I could have ever anticipated or imagined.  They're not who I thought they would be; they are so much more.

The days continue to be long and the years are so very, very short.

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive.

No comments:

Post a Comment