| Yes, I have finally resolved to the fact that I am a midlife mom. My two girls are grown. I now have one thirteen-year-old and one sixteen-year-old. Two teenage girls at one time, they were right, patience is a virtue.|
Once upon a time my schedule was feed, change, and play with the baby. Baby’s nap time was my only solace. I could spend time writing or catch my show on TV. That’s all gone, gone I say. I miss you most of all naptime.
Now my time is spent as a professional chauffeur to school, after-school activities, science project meet-ups, and the mall. Shew! I think I liked it better when they barely could walk. Where could they go then, the couch or the end table?
When they were little, technology wasn’t so social. I didn’t have to worry about them turning into cell phone zombies as they text and tweet away. The occasional obsession on the same cartoon video was the worse it got. “Again mommy, play it again” I still can’t get some of those catchy songs out of my head.
Once upon a time, all the idiosyncrasies of having small children were replaced with the sparkles of being able to spend each day raising them. Just watching them grow and learn was a privilege tagged with a source of adventure. They used to say cute things that just made you giggle all day for no reason. Being mommy was a big deal; you were their hero accompanied with the title of a best friend. You were their whole world.
Remember, the long talks where you’d spend half the day chatting about simple things at their repetitive requests of “But why?” and “How come?” Where you learned as a parent to patiently explain eagerly watching the look on their sweet little faces as they began to understand.
Now it’s you that’s trying to understand, asking constantly the same questions back, “And you want to do this why? How come?” Unfortunately, even though your line of questioning is well thought out and constructive, you will only receive one-word answers, in the form of “Yeah, no, or whatever?” Don’t worry repetitive questions as once eager minds would ask are gone. Their questions have been downgraded to constant requests, “Mom, did you wash my jeans?” or “Mom where did you put my book?”
The simple task like tidying up toys after play time has morphed into the dark mysterious clothing massacre that is now my girl’s rooms. There must be a science to turning a whole day’s washing, drying, and hanging up into a horrendous blob that I swear breathes and growls at me when I pass by.
Play dates were the entire craze back then. You got to pick the moms you liked. You hoped that your kids would get along with theirs, even for just an hour each week. It was a social event for mommy and daughter to share their daily quips with peers of their own age. Ah, and for me, it was delightful having a grown-up to talk to.
Now the tides have turned. Sleepovers have taken over. The first time your daughter sleeps over at a new friend’s house your investigative reporting side awakens. The questions you need to get answered to put your mommy protective shield at ease are relentless. Begin the interrogation! Who? What? When? Insisting to make voice contact with home-bound parental units immediately. The trick is to get the sleepover guest to come to your house first for a visit. That way you’ve got them on your own turf. You get to see their behavior and evaluate their respect level right out the gate. Firsthand, up close, and personal. Proceeding cautiously if everything goes just fine.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls very much. I trust their wise judgment on differentiating things right from wrong. Occasionally as teenagers, they have a unique way of making things uncomfortably interesting. So, complaining seems to be the usual as with most moms that have teenagers. Really though, what does it all boil down to? How do I embrace them fully at this age just like I did when they were toddlers? It’s time for me to face facts. My babies are gone. They have been replaced with young ladies. As I bask in pride at the smart beautifully talented young women that now stand before me, reality sets in.
No matter the daily roller-coaster schedule, no matter the messy rooms or conversations, no matter the mass amounts of food and technology they can consume. I have learned so many valuable lessons watching them grow. Never forgetting how they helped mold the masterful mom I have become. So, I declare a truce, therefore bring on mall, the sleepover, and the after-school carting around. I will be glad to have it for as long as I can. Someday, so soon, they will be gone, moved out on their own. They won’t need me as much. I won’t be their daily world. I will just be their mom. That is my one saving grace, constant forever regardless of their age.
Annmarie M. Roberts