Those Dreaded Teen YearsOctober 23, 2012
When my girls found out that they made the musical, they both called me.
Em is 16. Jules is 14.
And I was their first phone call.
This makes me so happy.
When I tell people that I have a 14 and 16 year old, they wince. They recoil. ”Oh, you poor thing,” they say. And I always say, “no, it’s good!”
And it really is so good.
There’s no doubt that they’re more independent than they were when they were smaller. Our relationship is definitely different. But they do not have an attitude with me. They are not rebellious. Both of them still cuddle up with me, and they tell me about their days. They talk and talk and talk about things that happened in class, what went on in volleyball, how things are going in crew. They talk to me about decisions they need to make, challenges they face.
They don’t talk to me so much about their social lives. They don’t tell me kid-gossip (except occasional HUGE things). Which is fine. I’m not a teenager. I don’t need to know who is dating who and who yelled at who, etc.
And it’s not just me. They are this way with David, and they are this way with each other. Emma was so happy to tell her sister the news about the musical, and they are both so happy to be in it together.
The other day, Em’s class went on a field trip, and ended up in a cannoli shop (very educational, I know). I knew that cannolis are one of J’s favorite desserts, but when Em texted me to say “guess what I’m doing!” I was in the middle of something, so responded with a “that’s so cool!” or something like that, but didn’t go on to remind her about her sister. But a minute later, Em texted me a picture of the cannoli to-go box with the note, “I got some for J!” And then she carried that damned box around for the next hour or so, just so that her sister could have her favorite treat.
This school year has been pretty intense for both girls, which has contributed to the time we all spend together and at home. When Em was a freshman, it was a big transition, but the school work was just so-so. For J, the school work has been a HUGE step up from 8th grade (a welcome huge step up, in my opinion). And Em has AP classes, and they both have sports. The result has been a lot less social time on weekends. In fact, a couple weekends ago, J came to me very upset because she kept telling a close friend “no” to requests to hang out, and she felt bad. But she had homework, and tests to study for and auditions to prep for, and she really didn’t feel that she could hang out.
I know I still have years to go, and things may fall apart. But every day I am grateful that my girls are going through these teen years without some of the issues that I know are out there. Issues I had as a teen.
Geez, when I was a teen . . . I honestly used to bait my mother with my attitude and my snarling remarks to try and force her to blow up at me. I liked having that control. Now – to be fair – my mother and I were locked in power struggles over freedom and other issues in a way that my girls and I have not been. I didn’t do just for fun. I did it in response to being forcefully limited in friendships and associations based on religion.
And even without that kind of extreme (or something even more extreme), I know there are a lot of teens who are just basically disengaged.
And I’m very grateful.