Friday, October 7, 2011

Teenagers make you old

Oh, how I have wished a thousand times that I had recorded my older boy's voice before it changed. One day, my sweet little boy was talking to me. The next day, a croaky little man. There were other malevolent changes that weren't as obvious, initially.

First, girls stopped having cooties.

Then NPR News was "slanted."  (Because I happen to like NPR News.) Followed by the proclamation that there  should be no gun control.  (I'm ambivalent on the topic, but don't allow guns in the house because there are too many small boys.)  Soda for breakfast became perfectly healthy, despite all the carefully pronounced evidence to the contrary.  In fact, if I said the sky was blue, it was most certainly olive drab.  Last but not least, the prevailing theory became the end would justify any means, if the aforementioned "end" happened to be unsupervised internet access.

We won't even delve into the difference of opinion on what constitutes a valid career goal and corresponding educational aspirations. Suffice it to say that "Living off the Grid" is not what I had dreamed of while playing endless Mozart to my Harvard-bound infant.

I know some people (*cough* Madam Smallworld *cough*) enjoy the teen stage, but so far, I'm not digging it.  Don't get me wrong; I still love my teen, but I don't like how his feelings about me have changed.

I long for the days when everything I said was accepted as practically biblical truth. (Yes, I know that it was wrong to tell him that sharks weren't allowed near the beach.)  I long for the days when he knew he could count on me for protection, love, and acceptance, no matter what went on outside the house.  I long for the days when he knew that Mommy always had his back.  I long for the days when he understood that I loved him more than life itself.

I need to get this right.  I'm grateful that I have a "village" of wise friends I can draw from constantly when I'm not sure of myself.  If you have teens, what philosophies or guiding thoughts help you be successful in maintaining a good relationship with him or her while still propelling the child headed firmly between the goal posts?

I realize that part of the problem I am having is that those goal posts are really not set by me.  They are set by God and have to be ultimately chosen by the child, as he enters adulthood.  So a better question for me to ask is how do you keep your parenting efforts in perspective, given that your child must ultimately hike his own hike?  How are you "there" for your child, when your child wants to move away from you?