When your child or children are still chubby legged toddlers who pee their pants and can’t seem to get through the night without confirming your undying devotion, many of us dream of the days when they will wipe their own butt and sleep til noon.
Or we see our friends’ children reach the teen years and are quietly but unmistakeably scared shitless at the piercings, the platinum blonde mohawk, lack of hygiene, and insatiable appetite that we see.
So what is it actually like having not one, but three, teenagers in the house?
I love it.
Well, some of it.
Here’s what I don’t love so much:
- driving lessons
- apparently there is never anything to eat in the house, despite spending hours in the kitchen and being on first name terms with all the staff at my local supermarket
- the messy bedrooms
- the scowling, grumbling, muttering, and accompanying angst
- being mistaken for an ATM
But some of the magic moments include:
- when those scowls transform into that gorgeous smile that you remember and you realise it still melts your heart
- when you see their creative soul shine, whether it’s learning a new song on bass, recording beats for a whole day, the sketchbook filled with drawings, or reading their words in lyrics and blog posts
- when everyone actually likes and approves of what I’ve cooked for dinner and the discussion can instead focus on the latest gig, their day, movies, and Kanye
- when they notice that you’re feeling like crap and ask if you’re okay
- when you say the letters PMS one after the after and they ask if you want chocolate
- when they go out on the town and you’re more jealous than worried, because you trust them and like their friends
- when you watch them fall for someone
- when you can be honest with them and tell them that life sucks sometimes
- when they are honest with you
- when you think your kids are some of the coolest people you know
- when you wish you were more like them at that age
- when they turn you on to cool music
- when you get drunk and they don’t think you’re a bad parent
- when they stay on campus and later tell you they checked your food blog for recipes
- when you realise that your kids are really decent people and that you can’t take all the credit
- when they have open minds and hearts, and get outraged by the injustices of the world
- when you go on a feminist rant and they get it
- when you tell someone that your family is queer positive and your kids aren’t embarrassed
- when someone treats you like shit and your kids get angry and offer to call the offender and abuse them for you
At the risk of sounding cocky and smug let me stress that my offspring aren’t extra special. I see their friends, as well as our own family and friends, and I see a whole bunch of good kids. Good even when they’re tired, cranky, and hungover. Good when they push the boundaries. Good when they pull away from you to figure out who they are, and what they’re about. Almost-adults who study, play, and work. Yes, many teenagers are troubled and have difficult home lives and nowhere to turn. Yes there are some definite ratbags among them. But as they navigate a critical stage of their lives in a turbulent world, I think that most of them are doing just fine.
Better than fine.
They’re kicking arse.
And I love it.
Til next time,
P.S. Out of respect for my kids I chose not to illustrate this post with the many many photos I could have used, featuring mohawks and a lot of middle fingers. I love ’em far too much for that.