Tuesday, January 24, 2012

just you wait

I have now been a parent for twelve years, 4 months, and 7 days (not counting the 9 months prior to her birth) and this is what I have learned so far:

I don't know anything.

That being said, I hope you keep reading anyway ...

Parenting is a waiting game.  When you are expecting that first little bundle of joy, well-meaning people begin to tell you things like, "you had better be sleeping now since you will never sleep again before the middle of the night feedings begin" and "I hope you are ready for your whole life to change" and other such helpful comments.

And just when you have survived the sleep deprivation, people start warning you about the next stages that are coming ... "just you wait until: they start teething, the terrible twos, potty training, etc."

Well, here I am, 12 years and 3 children later and I stand on the edge of the most dreaded "just wait" of them all.  In just under 8 months, I will be the parent of a teen-aged girl.  And while I am not willing to accept that I will be miserable for the next 7 years of her life just because the word teen comes at the end of her age, I think I have had a glimpse of what is to come and here is how I see it.

My daughter has developed multiple personalities.

Sometimes she is still the little girl of my memories ...

and sometimes she is transformed into a young lady right before my eyes. 

Unfornately, every now and then she becomes someone I don't know and that I hope I never meet again.  Please don't get me wrong, I am not criticizing her.  She is simply a child trying to figure out how to become an adult and the process isn't always pretty.  The real problem is in my lack of confidence in my own ability to help her navigate these waters in such a way that the sweet, kind-hearted little girl grows into the beautiful young lady I know she can be.

 Of course all this brings me right back to the beginning ... I don't know anything now and, since my mother can't really tell me how she managed to survive four sets of teen-age years, maybe I never will.

But, even if I don't ever have any idea how to be the parent I am supposed to be and even if this little girl turning into a young lady drives me crazy in the process, I am just going to try to hold on to the moments like these and remember how smart my Mama got about the time I reached my twenties ...


Felicity said...

Your beautiful young lady looks a lot like you!

I used to really dread the teen years, but I must say, even though we've had our days, and navigated some awkward times, I'm actually enjoying my teens tremendously!! They've become such interesting people that can make me laugh so much!

I'm sure you're going to have a lot of fun with yours too.

Greg and Donna said...

We don't have teenagers at our house, we have young adults. Teens have a bad reputation, we all need children growing into adulthood! Have fun, there are really only a handful of unpleasant memories between our 7 blessings.

Rie said...

Beautiful post, Jennifer.

I just disagree slightly with one thing.

You are not on the edge of the most dreaded "just wait" of them all.

Just wait till they leave home. That, my friend, is the worst. Even though you know it must come around, just as the teenage years do, it's not easy.

And I feel very confident she will be a sweet and kind-hearted and beautiful young lady. She already is - and she has a wonderful role model, my friend.