I am a mother.
I am a mother of teenagers.
So far being a mother of teenagers has been uneventful for the most part. They get decent grades in school. (Yes I have to nag). They do their chores. (For the most part, but sometimes I have to nag). They don’t sass too much. (Most of the time.)
Actually I think I am pretty lucky in the kid department. (Their rooms are nasty though.) I gave up the room battle years ago. Now as long as I can walk across the floor without stepping on stuff I am okay with it. I choose my battles. Battles over grades will always win out over battles about their rooms. The way I look at it, good grades means opportunities, and clean rooms just mean clean rooms. Opportunities trump clean rooms, in my opinion.
So I am a mother to teenagers.
It went by so quickly. It seems as though just yesterday they were little, and were showering me with hugs and kisses and love. These days I still get love, but it is less frequently, and sometimes peppered with wise ass comments. They make fun of me if I cry during a movie, and while they will still hug me on occasion, kisses on my cheek are forbidden. (They will still kiss me if I ask nicely, and throw in a bribe)
But I can’t really complain. I enjoy my kids. I laugh with them, and goof off with them. I tell them everyday how much I love them. Sadly, I have friends who have lost children. My mother lost my brother. I can only imagine the pain and loss these women feel. I am sure they cry every day missing their children. I am grateful for every day I have with mine. But I know another day with them is not guaranteed. So I make sure every night before I go to bed I kiss them (they know resistance is futile), and make sure they know how much I love them.
When they were little I was always afraid if something happened to me they might not remember me. Now they are old enough to know how much their mom loved them if something happens to me.
But even with all of that, with the good foundation I have laid with my children about right and wrong and good decisions and bad decisions. About responsibility and foolish choices. About drugs, and friends, and sex and drinking. Even with that I worry. I am entering the years where I have little control and have to just hope and pray that the guidance and structure I gave them throughout their lives will win out when they have to make a decision.
When they are at a party and there is alcohol. When they have a girlfriend and the topic of sex comes up. When they are with their friends and someone pulls out a joint. I won’t be with them, and I have to believe that the values and ethics I tried to instill in them actually took hold, and they will choose to leave the party, choose not to have sex, and choose to walk away from the group of friends with drugs.
I am entering a new phase of parenting. An unknown phase. I was talking with a friend recently who has an 8 year old. I told her, “You are still molding your child. I have finished molding mine and am now just fine tuning.” And I truly believe that. I no longer tell my kids to say please and thank you. If I am still trying to teach them good manners, I missed the boat when they were 5.
I do think I am a good mom, and I have spent the last 16 years trying to be a responsible parent and raise two young men. I have always felt it is my responsibility to help them become responsible, polite, respectful, productive members of society who know how to be nurturing and kind. I think it is important that we give back and I have tried to instill compassion and a sense of doing right by others. Now the wait to see if my diligence paid off.
Now that I am the parent of a high school Junior, and a high school Freshmen, I will be able to see if what I tried to teach them actually sunk in.
I will let you know how that turns out!
(The music is “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney)