Sunday, March 23, 2014

Parenting Teens: No Wimps Allowed

This has been a weekend chock full of self-examination of myself as a parent.  I feel that D & I provide a pretty structured environment that supports open communication.  We offer just enough wiggle room for either C or K to express themselves, but not to be disrespectful.  So while I sit back, patting myself on the proverbial back, I realize that I have a sixteen year old who is NEVER wrong and a thirteen year old who can sulk, kiss ass (via baby talk) and have an intelligent conversation about about WWI, all in a 3 minute time span.  Hmm...and I'm the one that needs a happy pill?

Patience, not my strongest virtue, was tested beyond my wildest dreams this weekend.  First, I will take full blame for all nonsense that I trudged through - if I would just let them, my girls, do their own thing, I'd probably know way less, saving me from unnecessary worry.  But that is not how I roll.  I've always been involved - when they watched Disney Channel, mama watched Disney Channel - loved me some Penny Proud and the Proud Family.  I've kept up on trends, dressed them fashionably without over doing it financially; allowed them to invite just about anybody over for play dates and sleepovers, providing snacks & tasty meals (Sonic & pizza, duh!).  Their friends love us and we love them - well, most of them.  But none of this "chill parent" stuff would prepare me for my book smart/common sense deficient daughter's learning to drive...the whole cool mom nonsense becomes a facade and goes right out the window when your child says "I'm ready" and proceeds to step on the gas while the damn car is still in park!

Like many things in life, obtaining a driver's license is waaaay different now.  C currently has a permit that allows her to drive with an adult, up to ten hours per week, for one year.  So, as we will need her to drive she & her sister to school in the fall, it's time to get cracking.  We've limited practice drives to the neighborhood, about 30 minutes at a time.  But today I put on my big girl panties (okay, bigger than normal big girl panties) and decided she could drive us to the store.  Don't ask where this extreme level of cockiness and bravery came from, but I will confidently blame it on hormones...just like everything else that goes awry in a periomenopausal woman's life.

Where would this little adventure on the roads take none other than Walgreen's.  I had a $5 off coupon and we needed toothbrushes & coffee, so it seemed like the right idea.  And overall, all went well.  Parking is a major issue - and we're talking attempting to go straight into a space with no obstacles...but we can work on that and we will.  My poor little toes were clenched beyond repair, pushing that imaginary brake through the damn floor board takes a lot of work - especially when you want to grab the wheel or shout out really helpful questions like "what the hell are you doing?"  or "did you not see that huge dumpster looming before us?"

But all kidding aside, the real issue is this: my daughter is growing up, too quickly, before my very eyes and there is nothing I can do to stop it from happening.  She is wise beyond her years and yes, sometimes I'd like her to lighten up and enjoy life a bit more.  But her work ethic is commendable, better than most adults I know, and her teachers genuinely love her.   Honestly, what parent could ask for more?  Where I once worried that she was going to be too passive, a door mat for her (at the time) middle school peers to trample on, she really stepped up, made great choices and avoided the girl-drama that most girls fall prey to.  Yes, I am thankful and yes, I am proud.  But damn, can't we have a little rewind? Not to any particular "favorite" moment, as they are all my favorite.  If not a rewind, then a freeze-frame, to stop this nonsense we call growing up?

Yeah, I know, not possible - I'm a realist, I get it.  So, if I've learned anything this weekend it is to cherish and savor every little moment, even the tough ones, because they are gone before you know it.  And even the superior attitude of an "always right" sixteen year old can be seen as a positive...hell, we all need comic relief, right?

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