Bring a teenager sucks. I’m not old that I can’t remember it – the existential angst, the belief that the world revolved around you and that everything was deeply unfair and designed to thwart you at every turn.
Honestly, how my parents didn’t abandoned my self-absorbed ass on a pavement I still don’t comprehend. I suppose it really is proof of their love for me.
I’m in a bit of a fix you see…
My son and I were supposed to jet off for a mini-break this weekend so he could visit his BFF and I could wander down memory lane. That was until his sports coach gave birth to several litters of kittens this morning. And I can’t blame him.
I really thought we’d be okay. I thought we’d maybe miss one training session, but rowing season is heading for the Grande Finale and him going on a jaunt this weekend would blow his chances of being in the A boat.
Now, I have to face going home to tell him that we’re postponing our trip. It’s actually a good idea, this weekend would have been crazy and if we go in a few weeks we can stay a little longer and he can actually spend time with his best bud.
Still, I know the look on his face will drive daggers through my heart.
Being rationale is not a symptom of being a teenager.
I pondered giving him a choice, but the truth is, I know the choice he’d make would be the wrong one.
Many moons ago I did ballet. I loved it. I was good at it. Then one sunny day I told my mother I wanted to hang out at a friend’s house. She gave me the choice to see my friend and say cheers to ballet or go to ballet. I chose my friend and have regretted it ever since.
The level of competition in school boy sport has become all encompassing. I don’t know how these kids cope. I struggle through a deadline driven 8-hour a day job and he’s up at 5am and crashing in exhaustion at 10:30pm every single day.
I tried to explain that a year may seem endless right now, but by the time he hits 40, will be a blink of an eye.
That the guy climbing Everest has times when he doubts every choice that led him there. When he wants to give up and go home. When he’s cold and hungry and tired. Even when he’s scared. And many do. They go home. But the ones that carry on trudging step by step make it to the most beautiful view on the world and accomplish something intangibly powerful.
I want him to find that hard-headed stubbornness and push on through, but at the same time I want to hold him close and make it all better.
I suppose that’s what being a parent is all about – loving them enough to know when to make unpopular decisions for their greater good. I know he’ll only understand many years from now and that for the foreseeable future I’ll be persona non grata.
So for right now, I’ll just offer some silent gratitude to my parents for the unpopular decisions, for the times I ranted and raged, for giving me choices and consequences and for loving me despite everything.