When I thought of becoming a mother I also thought into the future. It's fun to think about all the hopes you have for your child. All your dreams for them. All you hope they'll become. Not to mention that they are going to be the most well behaved and amazing child you've ever seen because unlike everyone else you're going to do this right. A new beginning and a wonderful start with this new miracle that you hold in your arms. Looking into the eyes of an angel and seeing heaven right there. You know on earth you'll never be closer than you are right now to holding perfection in your arms.
Then you realized that this perfect angel came with a perfectly stubborn personality all their own. How could you mess up holding perfection in your arms?! Well, suddenly your perfect little angel is perfectly frustrating and perfectly out of control. They cry when they need something they can't communicate any other way, changing diapers constantly and then there's the lack of sleep to the point you get so tired that you can't remember not being tired.
Looking back I now know how much I loved those days. I'm sure I'll look back with a smile at these times too, but sometimes I wonder if I'm going to survive these teen years, or if we all will.
A baby is hard because they can't communicate, but a teen is worse, because they think they are and are only saying half sentences and grunts. Communication is an awesome thing. I feel it's a priceless thing when done well because even if two people disagree on something, if they are communicating well then they won't have animosity or fights because they are just both trying to understand the other. Lack of communication can bring horrible results.
I now have a full on 13 year old and a soon to be 12 year old. However, I'm finding fast that the "teen years" don't exactly come on with a birthday. They come on with the changes and stresses of the mind and body that the child starts not knowing what to do with. There are several transition times during our lives, but the teen years bring so many changes and transitions at one time that it's harder to cope.
In that since I kind of have 3 teens. Joseph has gotten through some of the 1st big milestones, but I find more creep up all the time. Being vigilant with my teen is a constant job. Josh has started some of the same things Joseph has been through, but dealing with a totally different personality is hard because some of the things I did with Joseph to ease him through those first milestones haven't worked with Josh. Jonas is just starting to get more emotional sometimes and look at everyone like an enemy. He's only 9. Wow, they start young.
Thing is, it's not just their personalities I'm working with. It's an up hill road with the technology of today, the expenses and time of that technology, peer pressure they're feeling, and Satan. This war is not an easy one and we'll all come out with a few wounds, but I'm hoping well all come out stronger because of what we've gone through.
Like with every war there may be some casualties. That's my biggest fear that I'll lose some of my children to the ways of the world and the classic wayward teen. So far so good.
Something I've come to realize along this path so far is those stubborn personalities can do some amazing things. As they come to find themselves in the mess of emotions and temptations I'm finding that a few explanations of what they're feeling and why help tons. They don't understand all the time why they feel everyone is against them. To make them laugh I often suggest it's because they're becoming a teen. It gets smiles and they just whine my name. They especially smile when I voice everything confusing they have going on in their head when they don't want to talk about it. I tell them I bet you're feeling like this . . . and then I bet you're now thinking this. . . and it makes them smile that I can pin it down. Then I ask them how they think I know that. I'm not a mind reader, just been there and done that.
I'm finding that putting them to fighting with me is better than them fighting against everything I'm trying to do. They ARE amazing angels. They are fighting a worse fight than I had on my hands at their age. They have strong personalities for a reason, to get through it. I'm finding they are hard workers when they want something done. They are now great at conversations, even if most of those conversations involve talking video games or friends at school. They can express so much more than they used to and it's amazing to see them evolve into young men.
Although this isn't the way my past self saw this parenting thing, and sometimes I still feel them coming with their own personalities puts a crimp on my parenting style, I have amazingly wonderful children that I wouldn't trade for the world (at least most of the time). They are the center of my universe and what is behind every decision I make. They make me laugh, cry, scream, feel like running away, and what keep me here. I've never felt for anyone how I've felt for my kids. They shock me with how much of a gift from heaven they truly are, even if it's not the way I envisioned it back when starting. Most of all, I'm glad that God knew more about what I needed in my kids than I did. I wouldn't be learning so much from "perfect" children. It's better to have perfectly wonderful children the way they are.