Raising a 12 year old and a 14 year old is like, the most frustratingly rewarding job on the planet, except you don’t get paid and you are the worst human to ever live. These are real sentences that could be heard in my house the last week or so:
“I can’t put the dish in the sink cause I will be late for school. DO YOU WANT TO CALL MY TEACHER AND EXPLAIN WHY I WAS LATE?”
“I turned the heat on, because I was COLD, Dad.” Dad- “All the windows were open. Did you think to close them first?” “NO, WHY WOULD I DO THAT, I DIDN’T OPEN THEM”
“You didn’t buy Cape Cod chips??? I mean, why? YOU ARE THE WORST”
At one point I started to say “You are an ungrateful little BITCH”, but I edited out the Bitch part and said ” you are an ungrateful… person”. I changed it to person because I knew if I said Bitch I would have gotten the wife and both daughters to gang up on me for being mean and disrespectful. I knew the word “Bitch” was a trigger word. I knew that would just make my life harder. So I called her an ungrateful person and left the room. I thought this tact would maybe, just maybe show I was mad and I would get a nice apology for her actions. Instead, I got nothing other than silent treatment. I did not win this battle.
In between all that attitude I get to experience some really cool moments with my kids. Fenway Park, an emotional dance show with my daughter and all her teammates on her high school dance team, and the sweetest moment of the weekend when my daughter mentioned a field trip and asked if I would volunteer to go with her. Wait, so they hate me and love me at the same time? I’m so confused sometimes, should I be crying tears of joy from all the places and things I get to experience because of them or should I hate them for not making their beds in the morning? I go from extreme anger to extreme joy in a matter of minutes with them.
Sometimes I can’t find my footing. I stay mad when there is no reason for it. I wasn’t built for this emotional roller coaster they have me on. I had a brother growing up, if we fought it was with punches, never words. Words are way harder to defend for me than punches. Punches might leave a bruise. But the bruise slowly goes away as with the feelings you might have had that caused the bruise. Words don’t have that same way of slowly disappearing. They fester in us long after they should, they swirl in your brain and you hear them forever.
I write lots of stories of beauty and love and lessons I learn along the way. I tell of how the sun hits my daughters and how they walk on water. And to be honest, about 99% of the time I truly believe it. They are incredibly interesting, complex and beautiful and make my world a better place to live in.
But, sometimes they forget I am on their team…
My only hope when I am losing a battle is that I live long enough to where they have to take care of me. Maybe I will have to live in their house with their family and I can complain about whatever dinner they made or the temperature they keep their house at.
When I am losing a battle with the kids I often think of my parents. When I am telling them one of my losing battle stories they laugh. There is no sympathy from them. No expert advice on how I can win. Because they know I can’t…. and I realize their reward for putting up with me as a kid is to watch me struggle with mine.
The circle of life….