Ode to my teenager’s angst.
When you were a baby I always had the idea that you were mine. And you were. I nursed you, bathed you, entertained you, hugged you, consoled you, and kept you alive. We did everything together and we laughed and played and you wanted to do everything with me, everything! We had dance parties, drew together, cuddled together, and we were so soft with each other. You growing up seemed soooooo far away that it never dawned on me that it would actually occur. I mean, I knew that I wasn’t born as an adult, but I never really stopped to think about how it actually happens and that you actually would.
One day you’ll be the world’s. And nothing has felt more true than in this transitional teenage bridge. Not a child, and not an adult. Some hinterlands of hilarity and hullabaloo. There will be a golden thread between us and you will be tethered to the unconditional heart swelling love that you allowed yourself to receive from me, but, you won’t be mine. You’ll be yours and I would probably argue that you’ve always *been* yours and that you have allowed me to be part of your becoming. That’s why it feels like such an honor to be able to parent you.
So this teenage time is a transition from you being mine to ours to yours. There have been tears, outbursts, anger, confusion, and math that doesn’t add up, and those have been from me! You are not a do over for me. You are you.
I’m grateful for the difficult times that we have together.
I’m grateful for your moodiness because I know you’re trying them on for size and feel safe to show me.
I’m grateful when you disagree with me because I see that you realize my love and acceptance for you is not conditional on if we think the same way or how you behave. You’re learning to manage your own emotions and not tend to mine.
I’m grateful for your loophole thinking and contradictions because I know that you’re growing and learning to think for yourself and learning not to people please.
I’m grateful for your know-it-all-ness because you’re learning what feeling sure of something feels like.
I’m grateful for your inconsistency, unpredictability, irritability and impulsivity. It reminds me that you have a fully functional adolescent brain going through exactly what it needs to be going through.
While they make the adult me cuckoo, they are completely necessary. I can’t imagine you driving, leaving for college, having sex, getting a job, or anything that I won’t be part of if this developmental intermission wasn’t here.
It is imperative that I slowly let go of the hand that holds yours. This is the only way that it’s going to be able to happen. It’s developmentally appropriate while uncomfortable for us both, it is what is supposed to happen. This feels like the ugliest part of parenting to me.
The irony is that I am crazy about you and adore you and will always and forever. Your growth is heartbreaking to me, so I’m grateful for this tumultuous time because you being a pill makes it a bit easier of a pill to swallow.
Yes, what I’m saying is that I accept you as you are. I’m here to be your edge of the pool. I know that you are going to go towards the middle where you can’t reach and then come back to the edge for respite and security to get enough confidence and energy to kick off the wall again. I’m OK with that.
Parenting is so triggering, hard, and beautiful.
It is an honor parenting you. Easy you and not so easy you.
And yes, you’re still grounded.