Few roller coasters are as exciting as the hormonal ones. And with three teen boys and four girls in puberty and beyond, we get to ride that up-and-down adventure daily. Wow. Did you know that someone sitting in a chair you occupied fifteen minutes previous warranted a meltdown? Now you do. Oh, and it is fine for you to spit water on other people, but the minute someone spits water back at you, it’s grounds for bodily harm. All the training we did when they were toddlers is getting a refresher lately. 😲
But on the other hand, teenage children are da bomb. I can assign one to cook dinner and know that it will be done AND edible. Another can mow the yard and it will look beautiful when they are finished. The animal care is all their responsibility; and they are truly wonderful babysitters for their small siblings when needed.
This has been a bittersweet time for my hero and me. Realizing that our babies are no longer babies, but young adults needing to stretch their wings… I will neither confirm not deny that there may have been some sniffles and tears on both our parts. Our oldest two are working hard; one is a construction helper and the other is waiting tables. Our next two have smaller jobs; one works as a mother’s helper and the other builds lawn furniture and sells it. Drivers licenses are looming large in our future.
Part of me misses the days when they were small. A BIG part of me is so over having a young person tell me that I don’t know how the world works (not in so many words, but if you have ever debated someone less than half your age who knows more than you do, well…. you get it.) And an ever increasingly large part of me is excited. I am watching the unfolding of some seriously stellar individuals. They are demonstrating a solid work ethic, a kind and generous disposition, and a sense of team work that will serve them well in life.
Right now I have many seasons of parenting going on simultaneously. Hurricane Baby promises to live up to the circumstances of his arrival… his daddy calls him a perpetual motion machine. Even if I am holding him and he is watching the others play, he is kicking and squealing- he is walking with help, and as his daddy says, he’s “a going concern”. Whatever that means. But it seems to fit. He is learning the meaning of “No, don’t touch”… and as the youngest of twelve, is fully capable of holding his own against older siblings. Yesterday his brother took a toy away from him, so he screeched and bit him back. Ahem. Hard not to laugh… the older one had earned it, after all. But I am getting a refresher course in baby training and chasing. It’s been a while. Then we have the tooth losing group… tooth fairy payouts are going to break the bank, lately. The tooth losers are also the most intense as far as schooling goes; LOTS of repetition, but so much fun to watch the lights come on. The tweens… whoa. Going to take out stock in a deodorant company. We will be using truckloads for the forseeable future. Also considering starting a drama company, with these as my primary actors. And of course the training and guidance that goes into mentoring our teens into independence is a new adventure… my dad used to say that his task was to work himself out of a job when it came to parenting. We are figuring out how to do that. Learning to not be needed, but building a relationship with our young people so strong that we are valued long after we are needed- that is our task. You can pray for us if you think of it; I think this may be our most challenging season yet.