Monday, April 18, 2011

Teenagers and the Secret Society of their Survivors

I was discussing in church recently that I may need a mentor mom. So far I have no volunteers. I believe I've figured out why. You see I'm the mother of teenagers. Two in fact, both girls, nineteen months a part. Yes that was on purpose. Don't laugh I'm an only child I didn't know better. You see my theory went a little something like this. I wasn't exactly sure how this having kids thing was going to go down, having no experience or anything to draw from. So the way I figured it I should have two and have them close together. My thinking being that if I did it that way they would be close. Built in best friends for life. They would never long for someone to play with. They would never be lonely. I was lonely for quite a bit of my childhood, watching shows like The Brady Bunch and Growing Pains and wondering how much better my life would be with siblings to go through the trauma of growing up with. Like I said I didn't know any better.

This is what I have discovered. It's not too terribly difficult to get a mentor mom if you are the mom of a baby or a toddler. Those my friends are nothing compared to the teenage years. Diapers and the lack of a vocabulary are your friends at this point. Embrace them! As soon as they hit about 9 it all starts going down hill from there and the vocabulary just increases in ways you don't want to think about.

I think perhaps that women who have lived through the teenage years with girls, especially more than one, have formed a secret society of sorts. They are all sitting around in their little clubs watching the rest of us flail around and enjoying the show. They won't get involved because they have already lived through their fair share of drama. It's either that or they are mostly institutionalized and are preparing my chair and little white coat for me. A friend of mine suggests that perhaps they are sitting around sipping their drinks and waiting for the next survivor to arrive. I am not a drinker so I said what will I do? Learn to drink? She said, well I didn't say they are drinking alcoholic drinks. You could have an orange mint julep. I asked her what that is. Apparently that is what Reese Whitherspoon served at her wedding. It's some kind of a southern drink. I persisted in asking her what exactly is was. To which her reply was “ I don't know I don't live there!” My friend has two daughters. Neither of which are yet into the teenage stage. While I love her dearly, if she had teenagers herself, she'd understand that perhaps I may need to learn to drink as whatever an orange mint julep is? May not be enough to get me through this stage of life. Although I am willing to give it a try at this point. The orange mint julep that is not the alcohol, we'll hold that thought till they start driving.

There was a time when my daughters wanted to share a room. I refused to let them and told them that they would thank me later. At this point they practically need written permission to enter the other girl's room. Can you imagine what it would be like if they did in fact have to share a room? Imagine if you will, duct tape running down the center of the room and intense fighting if one piece of a shoelace crossed over into the others domain. There could be anarchy. There would of course have to be squares of duct tape on the floor to symbolize neutral territory. No, I think it was the best decision all around for them to have their own rooms.

Don't get me wrong there are times when they get along. They are far a few between most of the time. They can be sitting on the same sofa watching a show together just fine, then one moves or looks at the other wrong and then it's “ON LIKE DONKEY KONG.” Hide the breakables. Call in the National Guard. SOMEONE BLEW A BUBBLE IN THE OTHERS PRESENCE! This cannot be tolerated. We must go to war! I have tried entering into peace talks with them. I don't know what to do. I have told them that I cannot possibly live forever. They are going to have to learn to get along. If their father and I survive the teenage years we fully intend to move to Florida without leaving a forwarding address until they figure out how to get along.

I can only imagine what our family gatherings will look like if they don't figure this out. Will we have to have separate family gatherings because even their husbands and children won't like each other? Am I required to buy the Bob Evans Dinner twice for Thanksgiving? Clean the house twice? Put a line of duct tape down the middle of the house to have them all over at the same time but quarantine them to separate parts of the house with only the bathrooms being neutral? It's too much!

This is why I need a mentor mom. My own mother is now gone but I don't think she could have helped me with this one. She only had me. She didn't have to deal with any squabbling kids. She could have perhaps thought back to when she was growing up with all of her brothers and sisters. But I tend to think maybe that's why she had just the one. She remembered all too well. I do have a mother-in-law that raised daughters. She is quite busy though. Also I'm kind of thinking that maybe she doesn't want me to know if it gets better. Sometimes maybe it doesn't. I think for the most part my sister-in-laws get along. But maybe the secret is in how long that took to happen. She may think that if she doesn't tell me then if it happens sooner for my girls I'll be pleasantly surprised. If later then she didn't give me false hope.

In the mean time, I guess I'm in this thing alone. If you want to apply to be my mentor mom feel free to do so. I would greatly appreciate it. If not I think I understand. Just get my chair ready at the table and have my orange mint julep ready. I'll be anxious to figure out what that tastes like. Until that day when I enter into the secret society of survivors of teenagers. I guess I will make do with ice cream to drown my sorrows. So I sure hope the secret society comes with a free gym membership.

No comments: