This I Believe

Michelle - Kodiak, Alaska
Entered on March 4, 2007

This I Believe

Teenagers will turn a mother’s hair white. I should know! I have two teenagers and my hair is getting pretty white. This tumultuous growing period can wreak havoc with households. I realize that these sprouting bodies are just trying to assert their independence, but why do they have to constantly test the tensile strength of my patience? They do not hesitate to call for a ride home at any time of the day or night, but when asked to do a household chore they roll their eyes or retort, “Why do I have to do everything around here?”

My daughter may at times submit to a hug or kiss, but my fourteen year old son will have nothing to do with any form of affection. Even a pat on the knee will evoke a loud “Quit it.” They may at times criticize themselves about an unsightly pimple or the fact that they are putting on weight, but I have learned to never ever agree or disagree. Nothing I say will be quite right. Of course, if I don’t say anything, my teens will claim that I am not listening or worse that I don’t care. So I try to make some kind of neutral unintelligible sound that assures them that I am listening but in no way judging.

On the other hand, these same two young teens have no problem telling me that I have bad breath or a hairy chin. They don’t refrain from mentioning the extra pounds on my hips and the fact that my laugh is weird and “loud”. According to my children I am also going deaf because I can only discern half of what they mumble.

My son is always starving except when dinner is ready and then he says that he is not hungry and will eat later. So as soon as the leftovers are wrapped up and the kitchen is clean he appears and asks, “So what’s for dinner?”

I spend a lot of time driving my daughter to basketball practice and watching her games. I usually sit with all the other mothers and Glo, when not playing herself, sits with her friends. If she needs something like a ride to Subway or money to buy a sandwich, she will call me on her cell phone. This saves her the embarrassment of having the other girls actually seeing her talking to her mom in public. I covertly hand her spending money as she slides by undetected by her peers.

So, what do I believe? I believe that raising teenagers is extremely difficult but that a mother should stay the course. There have been plenty of times when I’ve wanted to abort my mission, pack my bags and fly off to Tahiti. Evenings when I’m so tired and would like nothing better then to curl up on the couch and read a good book but yet have to drive the 11 miles to town to pick up my children and then listen to the two of them argue about whose turn it is to ride shotgun or what music to listen to on the CD player. But then there are other times when Dillon says, “Thank you Mom” and sounds like he really means it, or Glo will say goodnight and add that she loves me. Those are the gratifying moments and someday when they both get a little older and a little more mature; they might say those things more often.