Sunday, January 2, 2011

What You Don't Hear With a Banana in Your Ear

Remember those awkward years. Those 12 - 14 year old years when your face didn't feel like it fit your body and your arms didn't look like they belonged to you. Remember that time when everyone in the world had fabulous friends but you and teachers where conspiring against you. I remember, I remember hiding out in my room, reading, writing, drawing, withdrawing from the world certain that no one missed my presence. I remember and I don't miss it one bit.

Surely enduring it first hand was difficult enough, no one told me that as a parent you have to go back there again. I'm sure they knew, but they don't tell you. (I think there is a long list of things NOT handed down through the parenting generations but that's a post for another time.) They don't tell you that one day you will be sitting on the other side of the door crying just as many tears, trying to convince someone that it will all be alright that this place is a phase of life. They don't tell you that you won't possess the secret language to reach the teenage psyche. What they do is laugh. They laugh because you are enduring your right of passage. I'm pretty big on humour. I believe that laughter is the key to successfully navigating life but come on, a little compassion and a handy hint every once in a while would be nice. Do we really have to do it all the hard way? 

Something else they don't tell you is that as a parent of a something-teen year old you are one of the major "suck" elements. Yep, right up there with teachers and homework and boys who don't recognize you and girls who are jealous of your whatever so they torment you about everything else just to make themselves feel better. Wow, it doesn't sound or feel any better now than it did back then, no wonder I can't get through, I forgot how miserable I was.

Evidently I've also forgotten how miserable Lula was as this same stage of life.The slammed doors, the hours of crying, the self degradation, the palpable loneliness. I forgot how many tears I cried for her, about her and because of her. She was miserable, I was miserable, Michael, KJ and E-man were miserable. How can it be that a stage so full of unhappiness can be so easily forgotten. It is forgotten because we grow out of it. There is something to be grateful for if ever there was something. Lula is a perfect example of rising out of the gloom. She has grown into a place in her life where she has great friends and great ambitions. She understands the gifts she has to offer the world and she is happy to share them.

As parents we knew those things were always there waiting for her to grow into. We tried to tell her, we tried to convince her but we were parents and we sucked. Well now, I've just answered one of my own ponderings;  They don't tell you because you wouldn't believe them anyway or maybe they did tell us, we just didn't listen.

So why the post?

 I want to tell my KJ that I am grateful for her. That I can see the things that are waiting for her to grow into. I want to tell her that the very same things that suck right now are paving the way for the future happiness she deserves. I think she should know that her beautiful face came with her body. I want her to look to her big sister as an example of someone fresh out of the gloom. I need to tell her that her "Edward" will come along, that she will own a share in a pair of traveling pants and that right now isn't as good as it gets. I want her to know that our frustration comes from not being able to illustrate her the future. I want E-man to know how grateful he will be when his arms don't belong to him that he has two amazing examples of what waits on the opposite side of the phase.

I'm banging my head against a wall trying to tell her all of these things but I suck so I'm pretty sure she isn't listening.