How many parents of almost-grown and grown children start off by saying, “It seemed like only yesterday ...”
It does, in a way, but then again, it seems like so long ago that they were, all four of my tow-headed children, toddling, laughing and giggling, with their little noses and little feet running, climbing, jumping, and fighting with each other — oh, could they fight — and then, drumroll please, the dreaded teenage years.
As of Decemeber 31, 2013, I have raised all of my children past teenagehood. And we all seemed to have survived, somewhat intact.
I was experienced when my three youngest came along after I was 35 years old. My oldest son — or as I call him, “The Experiment” — was born when I was 20 and naive. It was almost better then, not knowing everything, and using instincts instead of baby books. Everything I always wanted to know about pregnancy and child rearing was learned on the job, with not too many “oops” moments, I must say. But it’s all a learning experience, this parent trap.
He was a teenager himself then when I started plopping out his siblings — first a little sister, then another one, then a little brother. And he played with them, and cared for them, and backed away, as any teenager would, when it got to messy or sloppy — but I remember thinking that he’s going to make a good dad one day — and I was right, as he demonstrates every day with the two grandsons he gave me.
But back to teenagers. Ugh. It was a hard time for everyone. Junior high school, peers, peer pressure, bad habits picked up from friends instead of family, ha ... good eating went out the window, and poor judgement came in. Cutting classes, staying out way too late, imbibing way too young, substance worries. Wardrobe became important to the girls, and loud music was the mainstay for my son. Friends of theirs I didn’t approve of, and friends they made for life, and many of them, too, I must say, have turned into wonderful young adults.
Worry, worry, worry — they may never know how many nights I stayed awake, waiting for that front door to open instead of the phone to ring, and being able to recognize and identify the footfall of everyone who came into the house.