Monday, May 3, 2010

On Mommying

A friend and I sat musing about babies yesterday. The older my kid gets, the more wistfully I recall earlier years. Age 4 was my favorite, but I pretty much dug them all till...well...let's just say adolescence has nowhere near the charms of toddlerhood.

I remember vividly the day my mama became a person to me, in her own right, as opposed to someone who existed solely to cater to the wonderfulness of me. I was a self-absorbed late teen sighing from unspecified angst and blaming mama for whatever fate was befalling me at the time. She harrumphed (surprisingly), repositioned the garment evolving at her sewing machine and said, without raising her head “It’s not like you came with an instruction manual!” I was absolutely stunned; silent—not because I presumed that I’d come with a User Guide, but because that harrumph was the first indication I had that being my mama wasn’t necessarily a joyride for her. (Whodathunkit?! I mean, it is me, after all…)

When I was expecting, and later, a new mom, I was a voracious reader of baby books (i.e., instruction manuals). “What to Expect when You’re Expecting”, morphed into “What to Expect the First Year,” “What to Expect: the Toddler Years” and so on. I thoroughly equipped myself to handle the interstitial maladies and melodramas that prick the joy and wonder of little ones’ lives. I'm less well-equipped to handle the drama of the teen years. There’s no “What to do when your teen texts that he just got his ears pierced” or "Don't have a stroke: how to handle sex toy discoveries in your teen's room with aplomb." I wonder if there’s a correlation between hypertension and parenting of teenagers? I know that there is a correlation between increased prayer and parenting of teenagers; like “Lord, please help me not get medieval on this child”; “Jesus, please let this child make the team.”
“Lord, please PLEASE bring my baby home safe and sound.”

Lord, please help me survive parenting a teenager.

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