The Paradox of Living With a Teenager

First of all, don’t tell him I’m writing this. I teased him and told him I was going to blog about finding him a homecoming date and he didn’t think that was so funny. I don’t think he’s that into his romance writer mom sharing stories about him but this isn’t about him…it’s kind of about me. And really isn’t most of what I write inherently self centered?

I don’t get to see him that much anymore. He’s playing volleyball and travel baseball. When he isn’t busy with those he’s holed up in his room overwhelmed with homework from two AP classes(or maybe he’s just hiding from the mayhem that is now homework time at the Farley kitchen table.).  There are some days that I want to keep him up there, maybe lock him in his third floor room and make him stay there until he grows his hair long enough so he can “Rapunzel” his way out. Those are the days when I can apparently do nothing right. I bought the wrong color Powerade or I haven’t bought any good snacks. I ask too many questions or I never listen. I didn’t get printer ink fast enough or anticipate he would need a box of forty-eight cookies delivered to school at 4:30. Or maybe my eyes blinked twenty-seven times in a minute and he only wanted them to blink thirteen times.  You get the picture…there are days when it is impossible to do anything right for a teenager. Then there are the days I have to ask him a dozen times to empty the dishwasher or to pick his dirty socks off of the floor and I get an angry growl as a response.

Fortunately, there are enough days sprinkled throughout the year when I want to shrink this 6 ft 1 inch giant down into a baby and cuddle him like I used to only while I snuggle with him I want the funny repartee that has blossomed between us rather than the coos of the baby. So I walk on the eggshells that are constantly scattered along the path of my days and I try to be that mom he can talk to. The one who can relate to him and listen without judging. The one who ends up being his biggest cheerleader(even if I have to cheer silently) and simultaneously his punching bag. Inevitably, I start to feel like I’m on solid ground and I say something stupid and hurry up and backpedal before I destroy the moment. Lately it seems I take one step forward and three steps back. Thankfully, every once in a while I get a text from him as I’m reading in bed. A text thanking me for something, sometimes requesting something and once even telling me he doesn’t want to go away to college in three years and leave us. And I get that warm and fuzzy positive reinforcement reminding me I will make it through these teenage years.

Volumes are written about raising teenagers but nothing can adequately prepare you for it until you have one breathing down your neck. Every morning I wake not knowing which side of the bed he’ll roll out of but I fall asleep being filled with gratitude for every moment I’ve had with him, the words(kind and even unpleasant) we’ve exchanged, the thoughtful conversations or the occasional interest in my work….and always oh-so-thankful I have a teenaged boy to learn the ropes with before my little girl becomes a hormonal teenager of her own.IMG_3058

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