Sunday, October 26, 2008

who would have thought?

We all hear about those teenage years, how our children will leave us, will become crazy, hormonal creatures with sullen expressions and rolling eyes. We will have to fight with them, wait up for them, punish them, dislike them. We will become angry and mystified. We will not understand them. We will suddenly be old, cranky, pain in the ass parents. We will lose our cool overnight.
My eldest son turned 14 last week. His transformation into a teenager has been at times tumultuous and unexpected, and at times sweet and melancholy. His sweet beautiful face and shiny hair made him an angelic looking child, and those same traits have made him a heartthrob now. His voice has become that of man, and cracks less and less. He is tall and has just the slightest European air about him, and he has my dimples. His teachers have warned me that the girls buzz around him like a bee to honey.
I remember being fourteen so well, every last detail. That's probably why I watch him leave the house with an air of wistful (how nauseating), of fear (how useless) and of chagrin (is he kissing his girlfriend?). Even though I probably have always looked like a comfortable, solid mother from the outside, these teenage years are already making me feel like I have absolutely no idea what is right. Am I too permissive? Am I too strict? My son's passage from a life in Italy to a life as an American teenager has been so seamless and effortless that I wonder what exactly it is I am supposed to do. I know my son has good judgement, has his feet on the ground, but the world which once consisted of home, school, family vacations and grandma's house has suddenly become overwhelmingly huge. I was raised with so much freedom that I wonder how my parents slept at night.
How can I be the parent? The one who has the answers, the rules, the knowledge?
I think it takes faith... some kind of faith. I remember the years with my small children only eighteen months apart, dreaming of a moment for myself, a longing for quiet. And now, in the meantime, I feel so lucky to still get kisses on the cheek and sweet words from my beautiful son. And I cling to my twelve year old... I hug and cuddle him until he tells me to stop.
Who would have thought?


michelle of bleeding espresso said...

This is so sweet. I'm not a parent, but it seems to me that you've done a great job up to this point, and now it's time to trust all you've done as you look forward to a slightly different brand of motherhood. Brava :)

Cynthia Samuels said...

Lovely. So many landmarks elicit such feelings - how lovely that you think about it in such an open and loving way. Lucky boy.

~ Denise ~ said...

great post! I often look at my not-quite-a-baby-almost-seventeen year old son and am amazed by the confidence he has. He still hugs me when he sees me in the morning, he still says "I love you" at just the right time, and ... in this least year and a half of high school, I wonder how I can squeeze more of him into my day without suffocating him and scaring him off. lol

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I've been delighted with how relatively easy the teen years have been so far. I think if kids are well-grounded, they tend to survive just fine. C still gives me giant hugs several times a day and he's 15 1/2, so I'm hoping that affection will continue. ;-)

I'm so glad both your boys are such a delight!

Betsy said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you for reminding me to try and ignore the doom-sayers. Those were the same people who warned me when I was pregnant that I would never sleep again. And that the toddler years would be sheer hell. We've sailed through them just fine so far and have really enjoyed seeing our sons grow and develop in their own unique way. I'm still a bit anxious about all of the milestones that come with the teenage years, but I get the feeling that there are going to be a lot of really rewarding moments in there as well!

Fingers crossed for tomorrow! :-)