Today I have a 15 year old. Wow! Feels crazy to be typing this. It does not feel like 15 years since we were first “sleep deprived, confused, terrified, ecstatic, desperately wondering how in the world did God trust us to do this” new parents. She’s my eldest child. And you know what that means. She’s the child we had spent most our time and attention in planning, analyzing and micro-managing every minute. Each new stage had a big learning curve and everything from baby essentials to learning toys to education was well researched.
Slumping down at the end of a particularly long tiring day, I would recollect what I had done that day and all I could come up with was, fed the baby, bathed her, put her down for nap, fed her, changed her, nap, feed, change and repeat…..somewhere in between I had miraculously managed to use the restroom, take a one-minute bath and eat something which I couldn’t even remember what. I would be completely overwhelmed and tired but still feel like I haven’t done anything at all. When friends and relatives came over to visit my new born child, they would say that it will all go by so fast that you wouldn’t even know how? At that time, I had inwardly scoffed a little and wondered how people say such things.
But, how true was that…Feels like it was just yesterday; though it sounds clichéd but true it is. I have heard my grandmother say it, then my mother and so many aunts in-between and now I am saying it!!! The days sped up with each passing year. I watched her learn to walk and talk and then it seemed like she started kindergarten in the blink of an eye! I tried in vain to slow time down, but the elementary years made way for middle school and before I knew it, she is in high school.
Do you know what turning 15 means? Well, it means we are smack in the middle of the dreaded teenage years! Please let’s take a moment to fully understand this. The rolling of eyes, the sarcastic remarks, the up and down emotions, the sulking, the unpredictable moods, the late nights of worry, the negotiations over curfew to stay up late on schooldays, on computer time, the never-ending why’s…Not to mention how all things in life, in general is so unfair and how unlucky she is not to own a smart phone when all others have it.
My formerly clear-thinking, sensible beyond her years child has turned into someone whose friends take precedence over all else. I get it, and I completely understand it, because it’s all part of being a kid that age and it’s all part of growing up. But while I respect all that I’m also clear on what’s important and what my role as a parent is; I know very well when to be her friend, when to be her confidante and when to put my foot down and assert myself. Because, Hello….I’m a parent first; She can have all the friends in the world but she will have only one mother and yes, that’s me and only me!!!
I’m just not going to change my personal life policies regarding safety and sanity to cater to the whims and fancies of a teenager living in utter oblivion of life outside her circle of friends. And clearly they are not at the age to understand the long term benefits of rules and restrictions. It is unrealistic to expect kids to understand that? They are kids for god’s sake…how would they understand; if they did, then what’s the difference between a kid and an adult?
Standing our ground and holding the line when the oft repeated “everyone else is doing it” is thrown at us; well, let me tell you, “Just hang in there” and don’t buckle under pressure. I know it’s difficult, but we can do it!!! A parent comes with the in-built capacity of unbelievable tenacity, patience and tolerance….(you have to believe me on this).
And remember, time does fly…even though it seems like days are dragging by, you will find yourself repeating the same words a few years from now…Though taking a cue from others, I had consciously made a mental note every now and then telling myself “I want to remember this stage and cherish it forever, as she will be an year older next year” and every once in a while I would tell myself to “record certain things in my memory and preserve it there, as she might out-grow that stage soon” and so on…No matter how annoying a particular stage might seem, believe me, you will still miss it once it’s gone.
So, cherish and savour every moment!!!
(Image Courtesy : Author’s own)