Fifteen Years

We’ve just finished our busiest week of the year (work-wise), and are so relieved!  Now we can clean the house (ha! my first priority!), work on projects, and hopefully relax a little.  In the midst of these past few days, we celebrated both Jonny’s birthday (he turned 28 this year because he doesn’t feel like he can keep getting away with 27) and Seth’s.  They both had their usual desserts: Jonny had chocolate eclair pie (from The Grit) and Seth had coffee cake (the recipe on the back of the bag of Pamela’s GF pancake mix.  So good every time!)  Seth turned 15 and I didn’t have much time to get sentimental about the fact that I’ve been a mother for this long, or to start worrying about the fact that it’s time to take my firstborn to get a learner’s permit.  He doesn’t really allow for sentimentality or singing or other such “nonsense.”  He never has.  I did find myself awake between my two youngest boys at 2 a.m. (who are lately both getting in bed with us every night and doing way too much wiggling and kicking), the time of Seth’s birth, and thinking about where I was then (22 years old!) and where I am now.  I am so grateful for our lives together.  I think we’re doing allright despite the fact that we’re broke, the house is a mess, and we didn’t get much school done this week.  Ha!

Before another year is out I’ll have three teenage boys in the house and I do believe I have finally accepted the realities of that (the noise!  the stinkiness!  the fighting between them! the lay about-ness!)  I guess I am over the hump.  I struggle (mightily) with change, and for some reason the change in dynamic from having all little kids to having a mix of teens and littles has been hard for me.  While my boys are still my boys, they are growing up and experiencing sometimes unpleasant personality um…quirks.  Sometimes I just want to shout, “Who ARE you?!”  But then I recall what it was like to be that age.  I really do.  And I remember that it is my job to meet them where they are and help them in this process of sorting out who they are as individuals.  It’s actually pretty exciting.  Yay!  I’m excited about having teenagers!  This is big.  Maybe it helps that they don’t keep me up all night kicking me in the kidneys and wetting the bed.

It’s October!  I love October.  Now, if we can just get through all this rain.  Weasel doesn’t like getting his paws wet.


Subconsciously, I think I had these glowing ideals when they were little, this belief that I would do it better, that I had learned from what I believed were the mistakes of my parents.  That I wouldn’t make those same mistakes.  I’d get it right.  Yeah, right.  There was a turning point somewhere in these last few years when I woke up and realized that I was going to make bigger parenting mistakes than, say,  starting solids too soon, with greater consequences.  When I realized that I would have to accept both my flaws and theirs.  The tricky part is refusing to stop trying to get it right, in the face of the knowledge that you won’t.

Three boys in the house between the ages of twelve and fifteen is proving rough, at the very least it can be intense.  I’m wondering just how growing up in a house of sisters was supposed to prepare me for this.  It didn’t.  Around the table the other night I sighed that this was just too hard, the parenting, the schooling, the everything.  Jonny, who is on a camping kick, said, “Can’t we just all go live in tents somewhere?”  You know, forget about all the rest of this stuff.  I replied, “No!  We have to prepare these kids for the real world!”  Seth chimed in, “I’m prepared for the real world.”  I thought to myself, “You have no idea,” just as Gabe told him with his classic Gabe grin, “Actually, I think you’re the least prepared.” And that time, we laughed.

There’s no point in worrying, I’ve proven to myself again and again that I always worry about the wrong things anyway.  These kids are full of surprises.  Sometimes it’s important to be able to say, “Enough.”  To say, we’re getting outside tonight, away from the house, from the mess, from school.  Away from the Real World.