Unlike most bloggers these days who have a charmingly dressed toddler and a sweet baby who is constantly and adorably photographed, I have tweens and teens and a couple of grown up kids. We moms of older kids are more of a silent bunch. Not because we don’t have anything to say–quite the opposite! But our children can read and become embarrassed or angry by what we, their parents, have written about them.
I had no qualms writing about all the times my kids pooped in weird places when they were little. There was nothing that they did that was too taboo to write about. Ah, the bliss of illiterate children!
Now the stakes are higher and the problems are real and can have serious consequences. And now is when we moms of older kids could really use some blogs to let us know that we’re not alone.
A couple of years ago when my son York–now nineteen–was a new driver he was giving a ride home from a church activity to his little brother, Finn, and one of Finn’s friends. The friend was sitting in the front seat of the car and Finn was in the back. When they arrived at the friend’s house the boy got out and Finn also got out of the car in order to move to the front seat. Only York, being impetuous and somewhat oblivious, drove off without noticing his brother standing in the street.
York drove all the way home.
In the meantime Finn called us and told us that his brother had left him standing there.
So when York walked in the door I asked, “where is your brother?” He raised his eyebrows and replied, “I don’t know. He was in the car and then he wasn’t.”
He didn’t stop the car or look around or even bother to call Finn. Nope. None of that.
I told him to go back and pick his brother up and York responded in the way that every teenager from the beginning of time has responded, “It’s not my fault!” Well, actually York, yes it is your fault.
So he went back and got his brother. My husband and I had a good laugh because York has always been somewhat spacy but this was extreme even for him!
The funny thing was, though, that some of the students at my kids’ High School read this blog post (How they knew about my blog I have no idea). They would come up to York in the hallway saying, “He was there and then he wasn’t!” It took York a while to figure out what people were talking about. But, being a good sport, he laughed along with them.
This line, “he was there and then he wasn’t” even made it into York’s Senior skit.
Moral of the story: when you are writing about your kids and think that they’ll never read it, they will. Or somebody will.
Which is why I have to be careful about what I say. But you guys, I have so much I would like to talk to you about! I would like to discuss the unkind and spiteful monster that has overtaken my formerly sweet daughter; the one who relishes in torturing and insulting her siblings at every opportunity. I would like to discuss the joys of drug testing your children and how being a parent can feel so much like being a prison warden. I would like to talk about the glances given that are colder than ice. The ones that make you pause for minute and wonder if this child might actually murder you in your sleep. I would like to laugh and commiserate on how completely devoid of brain functions these kids are most of the times, especially sons. Wasn’t it so funny when the police called and had taken one of them into custody, hahaha.
Lest you accuse me of only wanting to talk about the negative things about my children. let me just point out that there are plenty of outlets to brag about our children: Facebook walls and Christmas cards are rife with tales of starring roles in school musicals, amazing plays at football games and perfect ACT scores. There are lots of ways to tell everyone how amazing your offspring (and, hence, you) are. But we have to keep the ugly stuff to ourselves.
Which is such a bummer.
Maybe I’ll get permission to talk about some of these things. Which is doubtful. But you never know.
Instead how about I start something for us beleaguered moms and dads so we know we’ve got a compatriot. Something like that Mockingjay pin so when other moms or dads of idiotic teenagers pass us at Target we can look each other in the eyes and say, “I know what you’re going through.”
I’ll get right on that.
P.S. To illustrate the general surliness and non-cooperation that accompanies most parental requests around here, the above picture was a major ordeal. “Arabella, just stand on the back porch and look straight ahead.”
Arabella: “Whaaat? It’s freezing outside!”
[ten seconds later] “Ugh. This is so stupid. Why are you doing this?”
Me: “Just hold still for a minute.”
Arabella: “Mooooom, why are you doing this? It’s so cold! Are you done yet?”
Me: “Oh my gosh, it’s 60° and it’s only been 90 seconds!”
Both of us: [massive eye rolling and groaning]