Getting Old is Awesome

Hey, got you with that title, didn’t I?

Ok, so getting old isn’t really awesome overall. My back hurts, I have a muffin top, “the girls” sag too much and my energy is lower than it used to be. For someone like me, who stays in constant motion, that’s hard.

But generally, there are some things about growing older that make all those things worthwhile.

As I reflected back on the year, as we all tend to do…I discovered that I’ve actually learned a lot…that I kinda like what I have learned…I discovered some good things over this past year, my 44th and the beginning of my 45th.

So, here is my list of the TOP TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT GETTING OLD:

10) I don’t have time for that shit.

You know the shit I am talking about…the gossip…the cattiness…the negativity.

Not only do I not have time for it, I am no longer afraid to say it. I have reached the ripe old age of,

“Hey, ms. negative gossip girl over there…just shut the fuck up, ok?”

Drama, you like a little bit of that drama? Then I want nothing to do with you. Bye bye.

I don’t gossip. I don’t support gossip.

I don’t have time for that shit.

9) I feel better when I exercise.

I used to see exercise as a necessary evil, something I did to stay skinny and strong but not something I really enjoyed.

I am not sure if I would go so far as to say I enjoy it, but I am certain that I feel better when I exercise. And now, after ten years of running I can definitely say it’s something I need.

I think everyone should find some form of exercise and stick to it and they will likely realize they feel better when they exercise too.

8) I really don’t like getting drunk.

I have spent some time as a party girl. Then I spent some time completely sober, trying to figure out why I always had to be the drunkest, loudest, funnest person in the room. Now, I drink when I feel like it. And since going back to drinking, I have been drunk… never sloppy disgusting puke drunk…but rather drunk enough to not drive and to feel like hell the next day, probably five times.

I don’t like it. It’s really not all that fun while it’s happening. And I feel crappy the next day, mentally and physically. Drinking too much, even a little too much, is depressing.

For 2015, I am going to avoid getting drunk. Not because I have to but because I want to.  I really don’t like how it makes me feel.

7) Everyone has imperfections.

The more people I know, the more I realize that all of us are struggling to be happy, to be present, to be at peace. I think life gets significantly more clear, easier, when you realize that. All humans are flawed. I am more drawn to the seekers, the people who are striving to find the sweet spot of joy in the present moment. I prefer those people to the ones avoiding pain by sitting in their lazy-boys watching TV all day. But all of us, almost all anyway, are doing the best we can with what we have.

6) I really like sex.

Yeah, you weren’t expecting that were you? But seriously, I like sex. Not with just anyone. But I like it. A lot. I really like sex with someone I love, I like it even more with someone I trust. But sex is a beautiful expression of love, it’s fun, and when I find my lifetime partner, they are gonna have to like sex too. I need a partner that is comfortable with their sexual selves. Cause, I like sex. And that is perfectly healthy and good and nothing to be ashamed of. (I used to think there was something weird about that, loving sex and not being afraid to say I love it, I was wrong…it’s good.)

5) I am unusually forgiving.

I have seen some ugly shit in my life so far. And I really don’t hold grudges. I forgive easily and completely. I don’t even need an apology to forgive. I have “learned to accept the apology I never received.” My therapist says this trait worries her a bit because she wants me to forgive for my own mental health, while holding onto the truth of a person, or a situation, etc…and I hear this and know it’s true. There are all sorts of reasons that I am this way, all this childhood crap. But it’s who I am. I am forgiving. Once I let go of something, I let it go. Forever.

On the flip side, I have discovered there is only one thing I find truly unforgivable.

Intentional cruelty.

People who set out to be purposefully cruel. Those people. I will not forgive them. Or perhaps forgive isn’t the right word. I have no trouble holding onto the truth of those people.

I have known exactly four of those people, possibly five, in my lifetime.

I have a place in my soul where my love for these four resides. It’s locked tight. I have thrown away the key.

Those people, the four, I have learned so much from them. They taught me to be more careful. They taught me to listen to my instincts.

Letting go of the injustice and frustration and anger, is difficult but certainly not impossible.

I want nothing to do with them. Ever again. They are dead to me. I didn’t know I was like that.

I am.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, I disagree. I think the road to hell is paved with bad intentions.

Bad intentions people can kiss my grits.

4) I am a happy person.

Reading this blog, it might seem like the opposite is true. But it’s more likely that I write from pain. When I am happy, which is a LOT of the time, I am too busy being happy to write about it…although sometimes I do. But being happy, peaceful, laughter, joy, these are my absolute favorite things. I want more of this in my life in 2015. Life isn’t a bowl of cherry’s…blah, blah, blah…but generally being happy comes naturally to me. I love to make other people happy. I love to be fun, to have fun, to feel joy. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of life and forget your fundamental self. I forget what a free spirit I am. I am going to try not to forget again.

3) Parenting is the hardest and most important thing I will ever do.

God, I love my kids. I mean, I love, love, love them. I don’t need to explain this to other parents. They get it.

I found a greeting card recently that said on the outside “being a parent” and then on the inside it said “is like being pecked to death by chickens”. The picture was really hilarious.

When I paid for it, the woman behind the counter said, “it’s our most popular card.”

I replied, “of course it is, I am not the first person to be pecked to death by chickens” and we laughed.

Parenting is nothing like being pecked to death by chickens. But it is hard. Because of the love. Because it matters so much.

The desire to give your children all they need to grow up and be reasonably productive human beings who love you and forgive you for your mistakes is pretty overwhelming.

It’s hard. I don’t think anything is harder or more important.

“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” Jackie Kennedy

I believe she is correct. Completely.

That pressure is enormous.

And worth it.

Peck me again, little chicks.

Keep on pecking. I can take it.

2) I know what my issues are.

I used to think I was needy. I was actually just insecure, but more on that later.

I was in a marriage, with a good man. A kind man. A stable man.

Who wasn’t in love with me.

My need for his love, for connection, for passion, nearly destroyed me.

And it caused me to believe I was incredibly needy and impossible to satisfy.

Since the separation, over two years ago, I have made a wonderful discovery.

I am not needy, after all.

I don’t mind being alone. I enjoy my own company. I don’t scare easily. I can travel alone. I can go to the movies, dinner, the theatre alone.

I have some other issues. But neediness isn’t one of them.

But my real issues, the ones that are problematic, that keep creeping back into every relationship…I know what they are.

I can be secretive when I feel controlled.

I can easily slip away, into my head and become unreachable.

I default to anger, always, when I am not actually angry but hurt. Certain situations can shift me into super scary rage. That’s a problem. A major one to work on. It doesn’t happen much any more but it’s still there.

And there are others, issues.

Being this age, being where I am right now in my life, it’s absolutely fantastic that I know myself this well, understand myself and my triggers and patterns.

Doing something about it…I don’t know if I can. I don’t know if I will. But the self-knowledge is there, the accuracy without judgment is new…a reflection of age, I suspect.

1) I am enough.

Parents who did their best but couldn’t give what their children what they needed, failed relationships, difficult children…these things can break you down, make you feel less than.

Somewhere in the past year or so I started to recognize the truth.

I am enough.

I am lovely.

Imperfect.

I talk too much.

Passionate.

Smart.

Difficult.

Withdrawn.

Funny.

Sexy.

Silly.

I am all of these things.

Good things.

Not so good things.

The sum of all of my parts is this:

I am enough.

And honestly, that’s the very best part of growing older…recognizing the truth of your enoughness.

It’s peaceful when you embrace it. Even if it slips away in some moment of depression.

It’s still there, the truth. And I will take every wrinkle in order to feel that.

Happy New Year.

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On being a mom

I tell each of my kids that they are my favorite.

They know it. It’s something we laugh about. They enjoy it. And they know I say it to the other two.

Each one of them is my favorite.

My little one is my favorite to cuddle with, to chat with, to just hang out and play legos or Rat-a-tat-cat with.

My oldest, my girl, is my favorite to go shopping with, to watch movies with, to get our nails done and to have long conversations about life and relationship dynamics and friendship and surviving high school.

And my middle child, my mirror, my intense one…who was intense to be pregnant with, was an intense little baby, an incredibly willful toddler and now is a teenager…two years ago I might have secretly admitted that he actually was my favorite. I get him, in a way I don’t get the other two. We speak the same unspoken language. Or we did. Or maybe we still do, but I don’t want to speak the language he is speaking now.

The language of truth.

The language of hate.

My mirror hates me.

He has been angry since the divorce.

As he gets bigger, so does his anger.

As he gets smarter, so does his ability to verbalize the complexity of his anger.

He doesn’t want to come to my house.

He doesn’t want to live in two houses.

He wants to stay at Dad’s.

He hates my house.

And he makes everyone else miserable when he is here. Increasingly so.

Oh the things he says to me. It’s horrifying.

Unbelievable.

Unless you are a parent, then you know. Cause this is the part of parenting you can’t comprehend until you live it. No one warns you about this part.

The way a child can break your heart, in a way no one else can. Your children are a piece of you, they live inside you. It just is that way. And when they push hard enough, they can destroy you from the inside out.

And it’s hard.

A few days ago, when I was, once again, having the “please don’t talk to me that way, it’s disrespectful and it’s not ok” conversation for the 300th time he responded with:

“I hate it here, I don’t want to be here.”

And I said, “where do you want to be?”

“At dad’s, I want to be at Dad’s.”

And for the first time in over 2 years, I said ok.

And I took him back to his dad’s.

Where he stayed. Where he is now. I guess where he’ll be. Hopefully not forever, but possibly.

The other two assure me they aren’t going anywhere. They are fractured without their brother. But they promise me they won’t follow him. I hope they won’t.

There is a line in the play August Osage County where Barbara says, “Thank God we can’t tell the future, we could never get out of bed.” I think it’s certainly true of parenting. If you knew, in advance, how deeply you would love your children and how dangerous that love can be when your children hurt you…often purposely, would you do it?

Would you be a mom?

As I write this, with a heavy heart, the answer is still yes.

Absolutely yes.

Without a doubt, yes.

And when my favorite child is ready to come back, I will be here with open arms. To continue loving him up close.

Right now, I have to love him from a distance. Because that’s what he wants from me. It’s what he needs. I know he loves me. So I will wait.

That’s what being a mom is.

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A hug from my boy.

Kiss my Ass Standardized Tests

I helped my daughter the other night writing an essay for her History class. She’s in the 11th grade, the oldest of three kids. It’s not my first time to help a kid write an essay. I know the drill.

Five Paragraphs
Intro, concluding with the thesis statement which clearly states what the rest of the essay will support.
Three supporting paragraphs. Supporting topic #1, #2, and #3.
Conclusion paragraph with the thesis statement again.

BORING. These essay’s are boring as hell.

But I help them anyway. To write it exactly as the teachers expect.

It’s this way for a specific reason:

Standardized Tests.

Someone has to score them and in order to standardized the scoring system the criteria is very precise.

Without meeting the five paragraph essay criteria, a low score is given.

That’s how it is.

And it’s stupid. It’s stupid, stupid, stupid and it makes me want to smack the standardized testing people right in the face.

Because it’s not writing. It’s following a formula.

And who writes in a formula?

No good writer, ever, in the history of the universe.

It doesn’t teach kids to think or to be creative or express their thoughts in an interesting way.

It just teaches them to write like a robot.

This essay, the history one, made me slightly more angry than usual.

Because the teacher had said, “You must have a counter argument in your thesis statement.”

Um, what? What the hell does that mean?

My sweet daughter, growing more impatient with me by the second responded,
“It’s like you say, Many people think this…blah, blah, blah…but actually it’s this and here is why.”

I responded, “why is that a requirement? You are being asked to compare and contrast two time periods. Why do you need a counter argument.”

Poor sweet frustrated daughter, “Because it’s a history essay. All history essays have to have a counter argument. She says if we don’t have one we won’t get a good score. We have to think of a counter argument.”

Oh…it’s a history essay and it’s required. Now I understand.

I don’t. I don’t understand. At all.

It’s not required that she understand the political, social and economic changes that occurred between the late 1700’s and early 1800’s in US History and the death of the federalist party.

It’s not required that she understand how to express herself in written form.

It’s only required that she follow the essay formula which, apparently, includes a counter argument. But only for History, not for English.

Because if she doesn’t, she won’t get a good score based on the formula of a properly written essay.

And she won’t be able to properly follow the formula when it’s time to write her SAT essays.

And that’s all that matters, right?

And to this I say,

Kiss my Ass Standardized tests. For ruining the art of writing for my children.

Kiss my ass.

standardized-test-cartoon-picture

an ode to working mothers

When I started looking for my first full time job in 15 plus years, I knew things were going to change. For me, for my kids.

I called a working mom friend with four kids and asked,

“How do you do it.”

She laughed and said you don’t have a choice. You just do it.

“But how?” I responded.

I’ve always worked part time. My jobs have always been somewhat flexible. I have taken many a sick kid to a theatre to sit backstage during the show. I’ve done conference calls while waiting in the line to pick up a kid from school, hiding the phone on the dashboard to keep from being that jerk mom on the phone while in the parking lot of a school. I thought I knew what it was going to be like.

Less time.

And I have to hire someone to do what I used to do.

Ok, no problem. I can do this.

I can do it. I am doing it.

But it’s a problem. In ways I couldn’t foresee.

I am now three months into my full time job.

I’m on my third nanny.

Nanny one decided it was too hard to go to college and nanny 15 hours a week. We liked her but found someone else pretty quickly, thank GOD. The replacement broke her foot and is out for weeks. Nanny three is a miracle, a friend is unemployed and agreed to step in short term. I have no idea what we would have done. It’s ridiculous.

For the record, I can’t actually afford the nanny. I’m gonna be paying her off on my credit cards for a few years now.

That’s fucking hilarious. I am charging my nanny on a credit card.

It’s not factual, my nanny doesn’t take credit cards. She doesn’t have one of those iPhone credit card machine things. But I can’t afford her and the other expenses of living alone. So I overspend. Which is basically the same thing.

So childcare is hard.

There are no sick days in motherhood, I used to say.

It turns out there are sick days for nannies. Wimps.

(sarcasm, seriously, it’s sarcasm)

So onto less time. Less time? Yeah, I was totally prepared for the less time thing.

Are you freaking kidding me? What did I used to do with all my time. My lack of time has reached an all time low. Working mothers have no time. NO TIME AT ALL. I haven’t turned on the TV in weeks. Well, once I turned it on but I immediately fell asleep.

All my lovely, beautiful, amazing, stay at home mom friends who complain about how they just don’t have time for anything right now.

Shut the front door.

You have time. You have no idea how much time you have. Did you sleep seven hours last night? Did you go to the gym this week? You have time.

I knew childcare would be tough. Letting someone else drive my kids. Raise my kids. I expected that to be hard. I was right, it’s hard. No big surprises there. The unpredictable nature of childcare is what I didn’t predict.

The lack of time, I had a hard time imagining. I suspected it would be difficult and it is. Throw moving into the mix and you can forget about it. I have stuffed every closet with boxes cause I am sick of looking at them. And there is no way I am unpacking any boxes in the five seconds i have to sit down and write this blog. I don’t have time to write. And that’s poison for me. Writing, reading, being creative…these things nourish my soul. That’s not about time, that’s about feeding my spirt. And balancing that need and the lack of time is horribly difficult. It sucks. I haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe I never will until my kids are grown and that’s the trade off?

So the big thing…the thing I didn’t foresee, couldn’t predict…is how exhausting working full time can be.

Trying to build a career is hard work.

Yes, it’s called work. I get that. I knew it would be hard. I didn’t expect to sail through it, like some sort of super hero.

I get home, from a long day, maybe it was stressful, maybe i was working on a deadline all day, maybe I am behind on something, or struggling to figure something out. I worked later than i planned, I sat in traffic for 45 minutes coming home. I am late picking up one of the kids from practice, I am worn out. I am done. I have very little left to give my kids. I get home, I have to make dinner, I have to do chemistry homework with my teenager or help write the argument for debate with my son. Or play with my little one. A game, or cars or whatever. And i wiped out. The best part of me, it’s all used up. I have given it to someone else…a job.

This is not complaining. This is an ode. To all the moms who looked wearily at me as I whined about working fifteen hours a week while managing my “household” and I was just so overwhelmed.

Silly little me of the past.

The moms who do it, and do it well…you all are amazing. I am in awe. And my goal is to be like you. To figure it out. As well as it can be figured out.  Because it’s impossible to be all things to all people, the perfect mom, perfect employee, perfect partner. Right now, I am struggling. But I can do it. I know I can. I’ve seen you other moms out there, leading the way…managing successful careers, loving your kids as well as you can in spite of your exhaustion…showing up at the basketball meeting with your business suit on and still managing a smile and a pleasant discourse. You rock, you working moms.

In closing, I want to say that I realize dad’s work too. And single dads with custody of their kids, even half the time (like my former spouse) are dealing with the same stuff. There is no difference, assuming the work load with the kids is 50-50. I am being completely sexist in addressing this to mom’s only.

Cause I am a mom, and we mom’s stick together.

 

 

Divorced Parenting

I am working a traditional full time job for the first time in 15 years. I have mostly worked, at least part time, most of my children’s lives. But I have worked from home. I have worked from 9PM-Midnight. For 15 years, I have been the one who picked them up, drove them places, attended every event. I have a strong memory of watching my former husband arrive home one day from a business trip and receiving an enthusiastic welcome from the kids and I commented on the fact that I wish they would be so excited to see me when I come home. My oldest laughed and said, “Mom, you are always around…there’s no reason to miss you.”

True.

But not true anymore. I work full time now. I have joint custody so I don’t see them for two days sometimes. It’s weird. I think we are all getting used to it. Maybe. I guess we are.

Tonight my 13 year old son called around 4:40 while I was work and asked if I was coming to watch his band play at a fundraiser. I told him I probably wouldn’t make it in time.

“No one is coming to watch me?”

Um…shit.

My heart stopped and I grew instantly defensive.

“I don’t get off work until 5:00 honey, and I work downtown. I have to walk to my car and fight traffic. I won’t make it in time.” I wanted to say that it was his dad’s week and I was  going out of my way to pick him up. But I stopped myself. Another thing about divorced parenting, holding your tongue…a LOT.

He wasn’t happy. And my heart broke a little.

My boss had overheard the conversation and told me to leave. At this point it was too late to make it anyway but I rushed to my car and got on the freeway. And sat in traffic. And crept along. And hoped I would make it.

I arrived at the event at 5:30. I ran in high heels through the parking lot and walked in just as they began the first song. And I cried like an asshole. I actually cried. Because I made it.

They played beautifully. I took a video and pictures. I told the band instructor how good they sounded. Even though It was the 100th time I have heard them play, It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.

Working parents everywhere have been dealing with this shit forever. I have been lucky to be able to do a job that didn’t require so much time from me. I have been lucky to be married to someone who could support the family without my income making a big impact.

Those days are over. And I am ok with that it. It needed to happen. But it’s hard. Harder in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I can imagine them now. I am living them.

Parenting is tough.

Working and parenting is hard.

But working and parenting while divorced is really, really extra

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious hard.

(this blog post needed some humor so I threw that in)

You can never assess what’s happening with your kids again without it becoming about the divorce. If I weren’t divorced it would probably be something else but I am, so every bump in the road becomes about the divorce. A choice I made. My fault.

And then comes the guilt.

Parenting with guilt is incredibly ineffective and dangerous. It causes you to make choices that you definitely shouldn’t make. Buy shit you shouldn’t buy. Say yes to things you shouldn’t say yes to. Let kids get away with things you shouldn’t let them get away with. You know you shouldn’t feel that way, but you do.

It causes you pain. And you will never know whether you would have had the same problems with your kids that you have if you hadn’t gotten divorced. You can’t know. You can blame you. They can blame you. Hell, even society can blame you.

Divorced parenting is also exhausting. On my weeks with the kids I am in charge of everything. The day begins at 5:30 and doesn’t stop until 11PM when the teenager finally finishes her homework or pretends to. It’s you and only doing all the driving. Unless you ask for help from the other parent. And thank GOD I have his help. Thank GOD he’s a good man who wants to stay as involved as I want to stay. But he isn’t there all the time and I can’t say, “you deal with it…I am done.” It’s all you.

You don’t get to be done.

I think you just have to stay on top of the guilt feelings. You have to do the best you can. And when you suck at it, screw it up, say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, forget something important, get frustrated, yell, feel guilty…you just have to forgive yourself. You have to ask your kids to forgive you for being human.  And you have to love your kids and hope they can afford a really good therapist in a few years.

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Teenagers

Don’t tell my teenagers I wrote this.

No, seriously…don’t tell them.

Have you ever seen an angry teenager?

Now multiply that times two. It could be really bad if they see this. I mean BAD.

I shudder to think of it.

I remember standing in an aisle at Target. I had a two week old and a two year old with me. My lady parts were still aching from the birth…I was still doing a bit of the straddle walk. My baby slept but only during the day so I hadn’t slept for more than an hour in weeks. My then husband had been out of town for weeks due to an unavoidable work crisis. And my two year old had just come down with “one of the worst cases I have ever seen” (doctor’s words) of something called Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Who knew there was such a disease. I could have gone my entire life without knowing. She had blisters all over the bottoms of her feet, the palms of her hands and hundreds more inside her mouth. The doctor advised just to keep the baby away from the two year old, to which I replied through my tears, “How the fuck am I supposed to do that…I’m all alone here, asshole.” He gave me the name of several therapists. Thank you, doctor.

Suffice it to say, it was not a good day. Not a good day at all.

I was at Target to gather supplies for my toddlers horrific disease. She couldn’t eat much of anything and at two she weighed about 25 pounds. She was a tiny little thing and couldn’t afford to lose weight. I was sweaty and my head was swimming with fantasies of dropping both kids off at the nearest fire station. (I have heard you can do that, it’s totally legal.)

So I am standing there with bleeding mouth and her little brother sleeps all day and parties all night, trying to remember what I came there for. I may have been a little on edge. It’s possible I came across as slightly grouchy. A woman, about twenty years older, was nearby and she eyed my two little demons with glistening eyes and told me that I should enjoy this time with them.

“It’s so short. Enjoy every little moment.”

I may have replied rather curtly, “it better be fucking short.” It’s possible I used the F word. I wasn’t at my best that day.

She looked at me, shocked and said…

“You think it’s hard now, just wait until they are both teenagers. That’s when it gets hard.”

And with that she stormed off. I fought the urge to chase her down and punch her in the face. It was difficult but I managed it. I left the store, went home, survived that blip in the parenting radar and moved through all the other ones that followed.

Fast forward to now. Mr. Sleeps all day, Parties all night is 13. He still isn’t a big sleeper. He loves soccer and video games and school and his friends. He is incredibly passionate about things. The testosterone that flows through that kid on a daily basis is record breaking. I mean, he has some powerful boy energy. Get three or four like him in your car after soccer practice and you better bring some ear plugs and a big can of febreeze. It’s worse than a carload of giggling teenage girls.

Speaking of girls, little miss HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE is 15. She’s all woman now. At least her body is. Her mind hasn’t really connected yet to the powerful appeal of her fully developed body. Short shorts are in and she is clueless as to what message that booty hanging out can send into the world. My friends and I have discussed this period in our daughter’s lives. Bodies that have developed more quickly than the minds that inhabit them. It’s a dangerous time.

And Target lady who made me so mad that I wanted to punch her in the face I totally get it now. I hate that I get it, but I do. Those days were physically exhausting. These days are mentally and emotionally exhausting.

I plan a fun outing but my teens don’t want to go. When a teen doesn’t want to do something…good luck having any fun at all doing it. Force them to go and it will be miserable. Leave them at home and you feel guilty.

A teenager’s energy fills a room. If it’s negative energy and it often is (hello, hormonal changes) the ability to not be affected by it is pretty much impossible. I am working toward thicker skin but it’s a process. A very long process.

When they are mad at you….omg…it’s a lot to overcome. I remember hating my mother…hating her…the sight of her…the smell of her…her nagging, annoying voice. Not all the time, but some of the time, a lot of the time…from about 14-18.

That’s me now. I am that annoying, nagging, stinky, high pitched voice, mom.

My brain knows that’s my job. But my heart, my heart, my heart….it’s missing my sick little hand, foot and mouth toddler who practically suffocated me with her need to be close to me during that illness. Or my little newborn boy who could nurse for HOURS and smiled and laughed at 3AM while I watched Oprah for the second time that day. Anything to avoid the disapproving eyes of my teenagers.

Daughter: “Can you drop us off at the mall?”

Me: “what?”

Daughter: “The mall. Please?” (insert sweet smile)

Me: “But I had planned…” (seeing smile, the one I miss, the one I long for…her voice that I haven’t heard in three days because talking to your mom is totally lame and she is too busy texting or checking to see how many likes she has on her last instagram photo)  “yeah, sure”.

That’s my job. The nag, the driver, the tutor, the reminder, the annoying voice through the door.

I won’t even describe a conversation with my teenage son. Suffice it to say, he’s very intense. He enjoys challenging me…often. He gets under my skin like no one I have ever met. He is a lot like me. Full of fire and when that fire is directed at you, it’s tough not to get burned.

So yeah, teenagers suck.

But not all the time. Allow me to shift for a moment and say…

I love my teenagers. I do. I also like them, a lot of the time. I like watching them work through things in their minds. I like seeing them develop and discover and become. The are full humans now. Their energy is as big as an adults energy, perhaps even bigger. I can have real, deep conversations with them. They are beginning to understand the complexities of the world. We can discuss politics or gender stereotypes or sex. My daughter is learning to drive and that’s another source of anxiety and excitement. I can’t believe she will actually operate a motor vehicle and thank god she will because I can’t stand another year of spending three hours a day in a car driving them around. And my son is turning into a man, right before my very eyes and it is fascinating. He uses AXE body spray now. He enjoys chasing me around the house with a can of it, trying to spray me down. That little jokester.

SO don’t get the wrong idea from this anti-teenager rant. Generally, I think parenting is the hardest in whatever phase you are in and it’s also the most beautiful. I just happen to have two teenagers living in my house right now.

And it’s awful. And wonderful. And I hate it and I love it too.

That’s a pretty good description of parenting.

Lady at Target, I understand what you were saying and I get it. But I also think you were wrong. You were remembering things better than they actually were and we all do that. It’s always hardest when you are in it.

It’s easier to reflect and see the happy moments.

I look forward to reflecting on this house of teenager energy with rose colored glasses.

Besides, I still have a third child who wants to cuddle and tells me he loves me and will I play legos with him or swing him on the swing.

Thank God.