Oh, how I love this post from one of my new writers, Lisa. I am quick enough to know that the teenage years can be harder than the baby/toddler years for even the most devoted and balanced mothers. It’s a tough transition and I imagine it can bring up some painful “stuff” from our own teenage years as we witness our children go through this stage. I find Lisa’s insights so helpful and calming because I know I will have a 13 year old in the blink of an eye. -Stephanie
What I’ve learned after 13 years of parenting… we’re not mothers. We’re bull riders. We’re hanging on. Moving through each moment with grace, a prayer and crossed fingers. Hoping we don’t get blood on our shirts.
We learn a few new techniques. Dig in. Lurch and lean to keep our balance. But we’re always adjusting. Tightening up on the reins. Giving them back. We can practice our theories. Implement systems. Guess what? Our kids don’t care. They have spirit. Chutzpah. Their own idea of what life should look like. Sometimes they’ll go with our flow. Sometimes they buck us off so hard we land bottoms up. Parenting is a willingness to look for glory in 8 second intervals.
My Girl Wonder is 13. The things that we talked about at 5 don’t hold her interest now. My infamous “look”? I may as well be throwing broccoli at a charging bear.
She’s no longer quick to curl up beside me and jabber away about all the whirling thoughts in her head. She says she needs more “alone time.” Ha! Don’t we all.
Bedtime now means a hug, a pillow fluff and kiss good night. Car rides have become our bonding time. We troll the radio for good songs. We sing loudly. Singing somehow loosens her hold on herself and the words come drifting out. She’s taken up writing. And that teenaged girl heart (Do you remember those days? The angst. The drama. Feelings made of glass.) comes swooshing out amidst her tale of knights and vampires. Her sassy, tough main character becomes a secret passage for conversations about school, dreams, boys, her sense of self.
Her world is bigger. It’s supposed to be. My job is to make sure she’s ready for lots of wide open space. I have to be the one to saddle up, hang on and get her there.
My best parenting advice: Get some chaps that make your butt look good. Polish your boots. Hold on and enjoy the ride. Hopefully nothing will break when you’re bucked off.
How’s your rodeo going? Are you the goofy clown? Riding a pretty bucking bronco? Or strapped on to an ornary bull?
P.S. That girlio up there… she may look like a harmless pony but on the inside she’s part Brahma bull. Which I kinda dig.