They're heee-errre! The dreaded teen years. Not officially, of course, because he's just getting ready to turn twelve. But, the first group of ill-mannered hormones are apparently unconcerned about the finer points of chronology and have decided to come to the party early. *Sigh*
I once heard a comedian describe teenagers as "hormones with feet." I think that may be appropriate. Yesterday afternoon he got off of the school bus in a deep, blue funk. Shortly thereafter, irritation with mom set in because, clearly, I know NOTHING. Upstairs he went. Half an hour later he's back down, raiding the pantry, cracking jokes and being silly. I got a big, unsolicited hug. We ran the whole gamut again before bedtime. My emotions can't keep up.
It's painful to see this coming. Not so much because he's growing up (that's fodder for another day), but because you know how crazy the puberty rollercoaster is and you can't make it better. Seriously, who among us would willingly go through puberty again? Remember? Body parts growing at disproportionate rates. Braces being put on teeth. Hair appearing in places other than the top of your head. Pimples lurking beneath the surface of skin that was completely clear yesterday. And, all of this starts happening at around the same time that you discover the opposite sex is pretty darn cool. How unfair is that?
I remember being in English class the day after I got my braces on. I laughed at something and covered my mouth with my hand. My teacher called me out in front of the whole class and told me not to cover my mouth just because I had braces. "You'll develop a bad habit and keep doing it when they're off," she declared. Really? Could she have made me feel a little more conspicuous? She may as well have gotten out her megaphone: "ATTENTION, EVERYONE!! RONA KAY NOW HAS BIG, SILVER BRACES ON HER CROOKED TEETH! PLEASE LOOK AT HOW UGLY THEY ARE!" Now, I know she meant well, but at the time I was just mortified. Because when you're twelve, you can't see that every other person around you is going through the same things. Remember?
Remembering. Maybe that's a big part of parenting through the early teen years. Remembering how easily embarrassed you were as a young teen. Remembering the feeling of things changing so fast. Remembering all those untamed emotions that keep popping their heads up for a look. Remembering that fervent desire to be independent (or at least appear that way). Remembering how self-centered your world was. Remembering that need to be special, yet inconspicuous. Remembering how much you needed to fit in somewhere. Remembering how even smart kids will do stupid things. Remembering how important friends are. Remembering how, even though you didn't want to admit it, you really did need your parents. And, remembering that it's all temporary.