An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Surviving Yesterday

Yesterday I had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

Why?

One word: teenager.

There. I don't have to write anything more because I am sure all of you will instantly and totally understand. But I will write, because I need to vent. And I want to be petted, and flattered, and reminded what a great Mom I am (and the fact that I am soliciting these compliments makes no difference whatsoever).

When I was pregnant I had nine months . . . NINE MONTHS . . . to prepare. I studied What to Expect When You're Expecting; then there was What to Expect: The First Year, and What to Expect: The Toddler Years. I even had Il Bambino, an Italian version of Dr. Spock's book on child-rearing.

So, I was armed and ready to combat first colds, diarrhea, play dates, Barney, and projectile vomit.

It was a foundation that served me well even as they grew and started Kindergarten, primary school, and eventually moving on to middle school.

But then, out of no where, I was blindsided.

Ambushed.

I ask you, where along the way did we teach our son to be sullen, grumpy, incommunicative, rude and disrespectful? Because I can assure you that these fine qualities were not taught by us.

And yet, one fine morning our son woke up and there they were.

I guess the most perplexing and frustrating thing is that I don't know what in the heck I am doing. Where was What to Expect: The Teen Years because, I tell you, it would have been nice to have been forewarned.

Instead, I have been winging it.

This morning, after yesterday's terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, I cast out my net seeking inspiration and wisdom. It came in the form of John 20:21, Peace be with you. The commentary explained that peace isn't the absence of conflict; rather, the peace that Christ offers can be found in the reality that exists when heaven and earth "connect".

Hmmmm. How about the reality that exists when parents and teens collide...that would be more accurate.

Okay, peace. I know it's there, just as I know my son is there.

Somewhere.

Like when he apologized this morning.

It took a little work, but I did find that peace, and with it came this bit of wisdom: a working teen doesn't have time to be sullen. Brilliant! So this afternoon our son raked the backyard . . . which is rather large . . . and has lots and lots of trees . . . that have shed lots and lots of leaves.

It took him a while and, believe it or not, he did it rather cheerfully . . . for a teen.

Peace. I'll take it any way I can.

12 comments:

Suburban Correspondent said...

Yes! Keeping him busy and working is a good idea. It's hard when you have days like that with them. I keep looking at my 12-year-old and enjoying him because I know that one day he will go away to wherever sweet little boys go for a few years. And I will miss him so much!

Kim H. said...

Oh girl, I could have so written your post. I say all the time "why didn't I get the manual for the teenage years?" -- and next Friday, I'll offically have TWO of them. Lord help me!

And I'll bet your yard looks REAL GOOD....

HUGS!

Tiziana said...

Adolescenza: tempi bui e tempestosi, come nel Medioevo.
Tutte le nostre certezze sembrano crollare in un solo istante.
Però dobbiamo pensare che anche per i ragazzi è un periodo difficile di crescita e che i telefilm tipo "Happy days" sono fuori dalla realtà.
A volte, dopo appena 2-3 minuti che Chiara è tornata da scuola, mi ha già fatto arrabbiare, con la differenza che io sto male tutto il giorno, mentre a lei passa tutto nel giro di pochissimo e mi guarda come fossi un alieno chiedendosi: "Ma cos'ha mia mamma?"
Maria, tu sei una mamma meravigliosa e questo rimarrà sempre nel cuore dei tuoi ragazzi che sicuramente cresceranno benissimo.
Un esempio?.... Damiano (ciao Dami!!)

PAOLA said...

Aggiungo un piccolo commento: non credere a quelli che ti dicono che l'adolescenza dura solamente qualche anno. Non è vero! Dura per decenni!

Laura said...

Since I have been working with these bundles of fun for 20 plus years, I am aware of this behavior and know it well.
I script the kids.
"You did this (name infraction) and now you need to say this (name the statement you need to hear)."
For a mother, I know that snotty behavior is heart-breaking. For a teacher of early teens, it's part of the package. (They are also funny, unpredictable, and flexible.)

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) said...

Oh Laura, for a mom it's part of the package too.

I used to tell my son (starting when he was about ten) that Margaret Mead proved that sullen teens/distressed teens/ frantic were not a worldwide phenomenon, so my plan was to leave it out of our home.

We did okay during the teen years,few scenes, but I don't know if it was because of that little lady's theory or not! He held a lot in that's come out in his 20s...

GrandmaK said...

Did this "show" five times and I know how you feel. On any given day you'd like to wring their necks. At other times you'd like to know what happened to the "monster" and the anxiety of its return can be overwhelming. But all-in-all once the hormones are tamed then it's not quite so bad...But OHHHH the taming!!! Keeping you ALL in my prayers!!! Cathy

Kathryn said...

I do not blog much about teens because teens can read the blog, and it is their life which they take very personally. If there is one thing I would LOVE to blog about it would be life with teens!!!

Praying for you, and it is so wonderful he apologized (this time)~ Email me anytime, I have 4 official teenager boys at this point and many more to come, I can talk some turkey *smile*!

Bia said...

Everyone has been so nice...and helpful!

SC: I have actually been thinking about your Anna stories...

Kim: yard looks great!

Tizi: you're right...being a teen isn't always great for the teen, either. thanks for the perspective! (and you're right...Dami is a PERFECT example...I hope ALL my boys turn out like him!)

Paola: ARE YOU TRYING TO HELP OR MAKE ME FEEL WORSE? :) :)

Laura: snotty behavior...good words. thanks, though, for reminding me of their good qualities.

Ellen: I should try that...how did you do it, though?

Grandmak: the idea of you praying for me is immensely comforting!

Kathryn: You have been on my mind a lot...you, with a houseful of boys! I will email you...you are like the perfect mother and I could learn a lot from you.

Lisa said...

Gosh, Bia -- Do I feel your pain. I had the title for a blog post percolating in my head the minute I saw my fourteen yr old daughter's face at the breakfast table this morning: Teenage Angst, Parents'--something-- But I can't find anything that rhymes with angst, except maybe phalanx, which is only a partial rhyme, as is, spanks... I'm still working on it. I'll keep you posted...

:o) mg said...

You are not alone.

Anonymous said...

My dear daughter, I remember a beautiful trip to Rome a few years back with my mother, you and your sister Laura. I also remember the moody moments that my older daughter experienced (quite frequently)throughout the trip.....................Remember? Why? Simply because you were a teenager at that time, just like your son is now....There is only a way to survive these moments: PAZIENZA!
Your very patient mamma.