This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada, which got me thinking about all that I am thankful for. As for most people, family is usually at the top of their list and it is no different here, but I also thought about all those precious moments I have had with our daughter. I came to realize how much my once little girl has grown into a young woman. I noted this as I was happily snapping away during the photo shoot I did with her over the weekend. Suddenly I saw her like others might: a beautiful teenage girl who seems to love life and everything it has to offer. A neighbour happened to walk by not recognizing that the female I was snapping was our daughter, until said daughter turned and greeted them. Just goes to show how quickly kids grow u when you haven’t been paying attention.
As a mother of a teenager there are certain things you learn, most of them I would never have thought of way back when she was a toddler. Here are few, but very essential ones:
1. Teenagers don’t travel well. No seriously, they don’t. Imagine the scene: you are on a road trip with your teenager in the car. Now it’s not a short trip, this involves hours and hours of driving and your final location is somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Now imagine your teenagers face when they discover that there is no cell phone connection, never mind an internet connection. How on earth can they possibly survive without their beloved Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc etc for more than one hour? And oh god forbid you should suggest that they would manage perfectly fine without all this! That, my friends is why my daughter did not accompany me on my solo trip to Alaska. The thought of us being in a car for 2-3 weeks, 5-8 hours a day driving and mostly being in remote areas with no cell phone access was enough for me to have made it a solo trip.
2. Teenagers music is great – in moderation. Don’t get me wrong, I love music (pop, rock, indie and the occasional R&B and rap) and most often than not my daughter and I like the same songs, but some of her music just doesn’t do it for me. Skrillex being one of them and according to her it has to be played loud. I draw the line at Skrillex!
3. Worry when they go quiet. As with small children, when they are loud and noisy you know they are fine and you can locate them easily in the house (or outside), but worry when things turn quiet! Now, in most cases it is totally harmless, like watching a movie (although that never seems to go that quietly either) or eating (they seem to stay quiet for eating), but usually it means they are up to something or doing something they know they shouldn’t.
4. A teenager’s bedroom is best avoided. I am sure I am not telling you anything you don’t already know with this one. On the odd occasion I have need to enter said bedroom, mainly to set down freshly washed mountains of clothes (why do teenage girls change their clothes 3 times a day?) or to find the teenager (which isn’t as easy as it sounds). Every time I enter, I shudder internally and externally. The mess that can be created by one person in a reasonably sized room amazes me every time, not to mention the total lack of botheredness (I am sure it’s not a word, but it should be). I feel like a broken record (for those of you young enough not know what a record is – google it!) every time I pull the daughter up on the messiness of her room.
5. Their friends are way more important than their parents. Fellow parents, don’t even think that you come close to being on the top of their list unless you are required to be any of the following (in no particular order): a taxi service, the money lending company, the hotel cleaner, the technical support line, the cook, the private shopper, the admin help. You get the idea. Yes, they remember to buy you a birthday card, but usually because one parent dropped a ton of hints in the weeks leading up this event. I am sure they love us in their very own special ways.
6. Mum, you can go away now means just that! This is usually in response to me showing an interest in whatever it is she does all day on her laptop and phone or when the friends are around. This is probably one of the few occasions where what she says is actually what she means.
7. What they say is not necessarily what they mean. This follows on from Point 6, ask your teenager anything, say, would you like some lunch, the answer I usually get to that is “no thank you”. Job done I think and prepare lunch for me and the other half. Minutes later, the daughter appears performing a search and rescue mission in the pantry. Why, I ask myself, when only minutes before the offer of lunch was extended? Clearly she was either not listening to my question in the first place, or the lunch on offer was not the lunch that was wanted. Reverse psychology applies to teenagers just as much as to toddlers!
However, despite all of the above, we love our daughter very much. After all, life would be boring without our children keeping us on our toes. Plus, let’s not forget that now is the time where I, as a parent, can get my own back by being the most embarrassing mum around (think turning up to clubs dancing the night away – which, by the way, my dad did to me when I was this age!).
So with all that, here is to my daughter, the beautiful young woman who I have the privilege of having in my life!