That blissful spot during the parenting years-after the stressful toddler and little kid years, but before the sheer torture of having teenagers-for me, unfortunately felt like it lasted about twenty-seven seconds.
I had it so good! My children, although no longer babies, still possessed that sweet roundness about the face, and an equally sweet disposition. They wore graphic tees, elastic waist pants and didn’t give a fig about fashion. They ate easy to assemble meals.
My kids used to like me
They liked me too. They liked me very much. Eager to see my face after a long day in fourth grade, my boys would spill out of the school doors with beaming smiles and throw their arms around me. I would be privy to details about their day. Which teacher was funny, what kid said a bad word? How much algebra sucks.
Going out was a charm. Gone were the days of tantrums. My boys and I enjoyed impromptu ice cream shop dates, dinners at the local diner, and walks in the park. We went on vacations, and my kids found excitement in simple pleasures such as leaving for a road trip while it was still dark or that nervous rumbling feeling right when an airplane takes off.
During my middle school years, I felt comfortable and connected to my kids
It was easy to feel comfortable and connected to my children during the middle school years. This sweet spot stretched into junior high, peaked, then heartbreakingly plummeted off the charts.
Overnight I became an annoying person who knew absolutely nothing. Banned from being seen in public with the people who used to live inside of me, I was forced to parent on the sidelines.
Overnight everything changed
Mom was officially “The Enemy.”
The clothes, the music, the attitude.
It made me sad. Sure, I discovered things about having teenagers that weren’t awful. My sons introduced me to some great bands. I didn’t have to cook as much because the food from our refrigerator was gross. It was fantastic to see their personalities and beliefs become more defined along with their cheekbones. But the breakup hit me hard. And yes, it did feel like a breakup.
As hard as it was to deal with the slammed doors, the cut classes, the vaping, it was harder to deal with the vast space that grew between me and my children.
I have adapted to the space between us
I have adapted, as mothers do, but to say I don’t miss the younger years would be a lie.
And now I lie in wait for my boys to return to me. From my understanding this supposedly happens as long as I’m patient and let go.
In the meantime, I hope my kids know that I love them at any age.
More Great Reading:
Why We Need to Share Our Struggles in Parenting Teens