Monday, January 23, 2012

The Eavesdropper

My oldest is an eavesdropper. It is almost impossible for me to have a telephone conversation without her interrupting. She seems to think that she needs to be included for whatever reason. My oldest is going to be sixteen. We are not talking about a six year old. She listens as she is doing her homework. She then gives her input to my conversations. I will tell the person I am speaking to what she says, then it becomes a game. A relay race if you will, of going back and forth between the person on the phone and the teenager in the room. Then she gets mad at me for repeating what she says. You would think that she would be the one least likely to want me to write about her. When in fact she gives me so much material, she feels like the star of every post. She loves it.

Teenagers. I read somewhere once something to the effect of, God gives us teenagers so we won't be so sad when they leave. I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I can totally relate as at times I wonder what life will be like when the girls are gone to college. My son is counting down till his eighth grade year. That is when they will both be in college and he will have the place and us to himself. I will admit that there are days when I count along side him. But mostly when I think about them leaving I feel sick. As though a piece of me will be gone and I will spend all my time trying to find it.

You know that feeling when you've lost something that is important to you? In college I had a small pin on my coat that had belonged to my great grandmother. It fell off of my coat and I looked everywhere for it. I finally found it in the street where it had been run over by a car. I was sick about it. Or the feeling that you are going to be late to pick up your kids from school and they will be waiting for you? I realize they have to grow up. I also realize that currently there are days with my teenagers that I understand why we have pharmacies and why God gave us chocolate. Raising teenagers is not for the fainthearted. My friend read a book that told her that if you don't make your kids mad at you at least once a day, you aren't doing your job. This made me feel a slight bit better as it's good to be an overachiever. At that I excel. I am fantastic at making my teenagers mad. It's a gift really.

The expectations I place on them are unreasonable really. At least in the society we are raising them in. The society that is more concerned with hurting the child's feelings over teaching them right from wrong. I expect my children to work hard at school. I expect good grades and that they do their own work. I expect them to pick up after themselves and to do their chores. I even pay them if they do them. If they do not, I keep the money for myself and have a nice cappuccino with a friend. I expect them to be respectful of each other, those around them, and of themselves. I expect them to use appropriate language. I expect them to dream and to plan for their futures. I expect them to not settle for less when they are capable of more.

I am still working on my expectations for myself. I think mostly I'm going to have to expect that when the time comes, I will let them go. I will let them spread their wings and fly off to wherever and whatever God has planned for them. But one thing I will do when I drop that oldest one off at college someday, warn the roommate to take her calls in private.

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