I could tell from her tone she was rolling her eyes. I didn’t need to see the side glare to know her mood, but I did as soon as she passed through the kitchen. Before the first sip of coffee had crossed my lips, I was engaged in a silent battle with my 17-year-old this morning. She “didn’t like the way I woke her.” Uh-huh. I’m guessing she didn’t like that I woke her at all this morning, let alone woke her to take a puppy out to potty and empty the dishwasher she was to have emptied the night before.
My jaw clenched tight, I held my tongue. She let me know she was angry, but I didn’t engage; commenting would only make things worse. This is life with a teen. She needed to diffuse and so did I before things escalated. As a parent, my job is to teach responsibility and self-restraint, not enable tantrums. It has been since the beginning.
That’s the deal we make when we become parents. Long before we the day of their birth, we make a promise to our children as we picture tiny toes for tickling and little fingers that will hold our hands. We promise to love them and keep them safe, despite sleep deprivation, carpets stained with grape juice, side glares, and slammed doors. We sign up for snuggles when they are tired and silent treatments when they are angry. Snide comments whispered under the breath as they pass through a room foreshadow the pain of rejection and, like a switch, the storm passes and they are back, wanting your advice, your company, your hand.
It doesn’t take courage to have children; it takes courage to raise children.
She was angry this morning. She had stayed up too late over the weekend and she was feeling the consequences of that choice this morning. I knew she would, but life is filled with lessons one must learn through experience. For her, the morning had come too soon. For me, today was just was another Motherhood Monday ,as well as day 10 of NaBloPoMo.