As you wait for the second pink line to form on the one test that will actually change your life, you begin to dream and wonder all the what ifs. What if it’s positive? What if it isn’t? What if it’s a boy? What if it’s a girl? What if it’s twins? The three minutes pass slowly at a quick pace. Congratulations! The second line is bright pink! You are pregnant! Yay!?!
Now what. You spend the next seven to nine months watching in awe as your body transforms to accommodate the growing life inside. You shop for clothes, diapers, strollers, and cribs. You have showers and parties with family and friends wishing you well. You read books on what to expect while expecting and how to cope with the first few years. You think, no problem, I’m ready, I got this. And you do, for a while.
You change diapers. You chase them when the walking starts. You cry at the first day of school. Years pass by and your little one grows and blossoms into a skillful, charismatic, navigator of the world. There are times when the two of you are inseparable and as you watch a movie on the couch with this wonderful little person that you made, you think that life can’t possibly get any better. In a few years, you learn that you were right, life was as good as it could possibly get.
Suddenly the unlucky number 13 descends on your household like a tornado on a sunny clear day and you are tossed into the disaster of being a parent of a teenage monster. Gone are the days of loving adoration for the tasty meals you make them or the selfless way you put their needs above yours. Never no more will you see the joy on their faces when you pick them up from school or have those deep car conversations on the way home. Their hellos will be replaced with a series of grunts and sighs. Getting details about their day will require pliers and a well placed stack of C-4.
No one tells you of these days when they suggest that having children is the greatest adventure you’ll ever have. When young parents think about the joys of parenthood, they think of the first steps, first words, and the first day of school. No one ever thinks about the first time they slam the door on you or the first time they roll their eyes and suck their teeth at you. You can be the best parent the universe has ever seen and still have teens fighting you as they try to figure out their place in the world. This doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong. Chances are, you’ve done everything right. You’ve given them the comfort and confidence to test their boundaries and discover who they are. Think of the teen years are part two of the exploration of the toddler years. They mean no harm or disrespect. They just have to figure out where and how they fit in. It’s annoying. But, as I have been blessed to observe first hand with my older nephews, this stage passes and on the other side, a butterfly emerges from that sticky cocoon of adolescence. Once the late teens and early twenties take hold, the rebellion eases and they start to value your existence once again. So, hold on, it gets better.