She’s sitting there, looking at me with eyes filled with tears and a smug grin that just will not leave her face. It’s this grin that is almost always my undoing. It’s not the screaming, or yelling or foot stomping, it’s the smirk.
The kicker is that I know it doesn’t actually mean anything, she’s not actually laughing at me or trying to be disrespectful. It’s just what she does when she’s upset and nervous, but I still have a hard time ignoring it.
It truly isn’t her issue, it’s mine. It’s me letting a look control my behaviour and that’s the real problem here. I’m letting the situation best me, and I’m the one losing out.
But that’s the joy of parenting teenagers. Getting past their quirks and tough shells while allowing them the freedom to be their own person. It’s allowing them to have an opinion while still maintaining our role of parent and disciplinarian. It’s figuring out how to be their friend but not their best friend. It’s not getting wrapped up in the eye rolls, the nervous giggles and the ridiculous smirk. It’s about picking your battles and recognizing what really matters and that sometimes, what’s important to you may not actually matter to them at all. AND being okay with that. It’s giving them freedom even though it just about kills you. It’s taking that freedom away when they’ve done something so incredibly stupid that you question how they came from your loins. It’s the moments when you see the worst of you being acted out by your child and realizing that, oh crap, I’m looking in a mirror. It’s hormones, training bras and periods and body hair and angst. And the talk. Oh the talks, why do we have to have so many of them, over and over and over again? Why don’t they just get it the first time? It’s watching them change before your eyes and knowing that they’re struggling and that you just have to watch and hope for the best.
It’s being able to shut your mouth and walk away without saying something you’ll regret. It’s hiding in your bathroom to have a good cry when you’ve reached the end of yourself. It’s sitting on the deck with a glass of wine and thanking your lucky stars that they’ve finally gone to bed. It’s calling your best friend on the phone and congratulating each other for surviving another day with a teenager. It’s learning to let go of the parent you used to be and allowing yourself to become something completely different. And most importantly, it’s recognizing that it’s okay to be a complete and total failure sometimes and STILL be a good Mom.
And just before you’re about to crash, it’s important to refocus your eyes and look past all the crap and SEE your kids. Really see them. They’re changing and turning into something so amazing. They’re becoming adults with opinions and desires and wants. They’re discovering who they are and who they want to be. They say the most hilarious things and make you almost cry with laughter. They’re dumb and ridiculous but they’re so stinking cool at the same time. They are the best of you and the worst of you. They are so smart and understand things that we never will. They are unique and weird. They are sponges soaking up the world around them, and trying to figure out how to filter what they don’t want. They are determined and vigilant and so very brave. They are yours.
Don’t get so caught up in the crap and nonsense that you miss out on all the good stuff. The good and the bad, it’s all a part of their story, and trust me, you don’t want to miss out on any of it.
Don’t let the smirk do you in.