While driving home from bible study this morning, I was listening to KLUV and heard an advertisement for MOPS. As some of you know I love MOPS. I went to the MOPS group at my church with my son and find it to be a very uplifting and worthwhile program. So much so that I now volunteer at two different MOPS groups, taking care of the little MOPPETS. Anyway, while listening to this advertisement it occurred to me that while the adjustment to having a child is great, the child that is on his or her way to adulthood adjustment can be just as great. This is why I believe a MOTS group could be just as beneficial. Mothers of Teenagers!
I have expressed that this year has been a year of great changes for me. I have tried to dig my heals in and resist the changes as long as I can, unfortunately it does no good. As the song says "time keeps on spinnin spinnin into the future", and it seems to be leaving me at the starting gate. The idea that my daughters are the ages that they are and are embarking from elementary to Jr. high and high school, is distressing to me on many levels. Gone are the days where a simple ponytail was all that was needed for a hair style. Gone are the days that we could go to Walmart and buy Mary Kate and Ashley clothes and they felt they were wearing designer duds. Gone are the days when they would crawl up in a chair so I could read them a book. And finally gone are the days where I was smarter than anyone they knew except maybe dad and a simple kiss on the head and a hug could cure any problem they may have.
I miss those days. Even if I spent a great number of them longing for the time when they would grow up and we could bond on another level. I am excited that they read on their own now and we can talk books and movies and how the books are always better. However, I have told them repeatedly that I am their mother and when they are grown we will be friends. Until that time I have a job to do to make sure I'm doing my part in their growing process. We can be friends later. The later is creeping up on me. While I dream of being the one they come to with all their problems and being their friend, I'm not sure I'm ready or up to the task. How do you make that leap? While I've been so focused on getting them to where they should be in their growing I've neglected my own growing. Emotionally I'm still in the barbie doll phase and I need to jump ahead to the facebook phase. I have no idea how to get there.
This is where MOTS would come into play. Having the oldest children or at the very least the oldest girls in my group of friends, I'm not sure where to turn for answers. My own mother is gone, my grandmother didn't raise children in the age of computers and texting. I need somewhere to go to talk to other mothers going through the same things and mothers who have been there. Mothers who can lay it out and say "look this is the way it is, this is what I've done, do with it what you will." Perhaps I'm the only one who feels like she didn't get the instruction manual for this age group.
When I think back to when I was in the hospital having my children, I was given a book with things to prepare me for what was to come. Things they should be doing at different stages. I believe it went on till preschool. But then what? I've gotten that stuff down. I think at this point I could still if presented by an act of God given a child, walk down the isle nursing a baby without anyone being any the wiser. I can change a diaper while the child is laying down or standing up. I can burp a baby, I can plan a kid party, I can sing all the kid songs now and being a stand in for Barney could very well be viable at this point, with the songs I know. What now?
This next part is harder. How do I teach them what to look for in a prospective boyfriend? How do I interrogate said boy who may or may not fit the bill without scaring the poor boy to the point that, if he is respectable now he is terrified and refuses to date her because mom is a bit short of a full stack? How do I help nurse a broken heart without wanting to cause harm to the boy who breaks it? How do I navigate high school while keeping my hold but loosening my grip?
While sitting in church this week, my daughter was sitting with friends, my other daughter working in the nursery, my son in class, and my husband at work, it occurred to me that while the doctor or my husband may have cut the cord I never really did. The cord is stretching and it hurts. For the fishermen out there it's a bit like casting a line and the fish grabs it and takes off, you keep reeling and reeling to get it back but they keep going. I keep thinking I hope my line is strong and doesn't break or I could lose them forever. The best I can hope for is that even if the fish takes off it gets hungry and comes looking for more.
When I was a teenager all I wanted was to grow up and get out. While I like to think that we have created a warm safe environment for them to come home to, it's not as though I'm a gourmet cook. What do I have to offer them to come home to that they can't get better at any fast food place in the county? The changes are coming. The growing is happening. Soon it will be over and they will be grown and gone and I have no idea who I am without them. In a word... I'm terrified. I want my MOTS group (that doesn't exist to my knowledge) to be a place to go to like my MOPS group was so I can see if I'm messing this whole thing up. I need the measurement that my kids aren't going to have to choose between college and therapy because I've messed them up and I can't afford both.
So this journey that we are on doesn't come but with only one instruction manual that I've found. There aren't any books that I've found that say "What to expect the teenage years" or "Your teenager might be damaged for life if you say this" but I suppose I can turn to the only instruction manual for life that can help me. The bible. I am not sure that it covers texting or facebook but it does cover living and filling your spirit with love and hope. So I suppose that I have to hope that I have raised them the way I was supposed to and I have to KNOW that God has this part covered. It goes with the loosening my grip part, they aren't mine after all they are HIS and HE has a plan for them. I believe that. Even if I've not been filled in on the plan, I believe there is one and He's got it covered. So maybe there isn't a MOTS group, maybe we could start one, or maybe I could just take a deep breath and pray.