Two weeks ago we participated in a coming of age rite for children in our community. I was pretty teary watching them, children I had seen for the past five or so years becoming a part.
Today our twelve, nearly thirteen year old flew to NYC to visit with my sister, his Auntie. Eight months ago when I dreamed about this trip for him it seemed like a great idea, last night….not so much. I was having a mama meltdown but maintained a some dignity (fingers crossed). This year is his preparation year where he slowly begins to become a part of the world. At 14 there will be a shift in him, we will expect more from him and he will deliver. He will continue to shift and morph in to the teenage years as will our expectations.
Our culture likes to malign teenagers, encouraging them to be apart. Is it because we are tired of parenting people who are having their own ideas and they can actually start doing something about it? I have my suspicions. They are still kids, they still have nutso ideas and we still need to pull in the reigns BUT they may need to fall on their faces a bit. Didn’t we all? In front of or behind our parent(s) back. Shouldn’t we be their cheerleaders and parents? I am at the beginning of this journey so forgive me for sounding naive but I can’t buy the negativity. I am looking forward to the teen years. I also love toddlers, so feel free to call me crazy.
He and I talk about all that is possible and what will keep. Some nights when we talk it feels like spaces where angels fear to tread, how to become a part rather than apart.
A few months ago we had a gang of extra boys over. They were down in the basement music room where there are now two drum kits, mic’ed homemade instruments, mic’ed keyboard and mic’ed microphones. My friend went down to look and came back upstairs laughing. They’re having a great time but it’s really loud and smells like farts, she said. Which I find is a fair summation of living with boys.
I grew up with a sister and mother. The friend I spent 99% of my teen time also grew up with a mother and a sister. The male species was and continues to be a mystery to me. Having lived with a man for nearly 20 years and having three boy children has made me understand a smidge of my teen and early twenties better. I found boys baffling. Why, why, why?
I jokingly call our home the gender study program. I find they do fall in to similar patterns based on their gender. Former me would never had admitted that and there are those that will vehemently deny it but….no matter, those are my ‘findings’. My baby boys cling to me like we are on a life raft in a roiling sea during a hurricane. They have nursed like tomorrow will never come and when I leave the house, upon my return the boys are either standing in the driveway waving to me like to dislocate their arms or beating on the window for my attention . My girls blow me a kiss and go back to what they were doing.
I see grown men, I see how some of them interact with their mothers. It looks weird to me and I don’t get it. Because I will just call my mom or email or text. Just to make contact. When my boys are grown and I’m out of the smell zone, I want that contact too. I see that I may have to infer our time together now as our primary connection and continue to return to it as a touchpoint. They will change and not want to spend hours reading Magic cards to me and my girls may call me to describe details. It is only from the outside I can imagine and hope how my sons and I will be.
Yesterday I sewed through my finger pad on my pointer finger with the sewing machine because I was distracted.
The toddler was waving a vacuum attachment near my head, another child was chatting to me and a few more arguing in the other room so there were extenuating circumstances. At the end of winter throughout the stop and start spring there is such a thing as too much together time. So maybe what I am feeling is a winter hangover.
This past week we had letters notarized for our eldest to travel alone and then the very same evening our second to eldest lost his last baby tooth. Children getting older coupled with planning a trip back to the States has me thinking of the past. So maybe it’s a nostalgia hangover?
And then of course it could be the lucky 13 upcoming anniversary of parenting and frankly said, getting inadequate and chopped up sleep. Do the edges of your vision ever get blurry or you stare at the wall until you notice your family waving their arms for attention? You too may be sleep deprived. So I guess you can say it’s a parenting hangover.
Last night I was at the thrift store, killing time and flipping through all the racks. My body seems to have figured out the shape it will be which is great but unfortunately most of my clothes from the past decade no longer fit. Imagine that. As I was misguidedly tossing shirts to try on in to my cart I had a moments reflection on the thrift store. What makes it great is you will see all types of clothes, even those you would never consider wearing which I like BUT there is no context. Without the screaming music you may be compelled to purchase a totally inappropriate item not realizing until you get home that, no, cropped shirts are not for you anymore. What I could pull off at 25 is not the same as what I can pull off at 38 in my eyes at least. So maybe I am having an edging to my 40’s hangover?
Whatever type it is, with the dull thuddy sensation and sleepy behavior I do indeed have some sort of hangover. I’m going to pull a doctor mom, prescribe myself a few days up north with friends and let my children run a little wild and pull myself back together.