Keeping It Real

Disclaimer: I ADORE MY CHILDREN and I LOVE BEING A MOM. But sometimes I find it hard to like either of those things. Am I grateful? Always? Am I flabbergasted? Most of the time. Am I alone? Absolutely not!

Friends, Holly and I used to fill the pages of this blog with funny stories; our kids did and said the darnedest things. We used to write about practical tips, like how to rid your house of lice and what to do with all the littles during summer break. We used to share the emotional experience of mommying kids as they transitioned from one stage or age or phase to another. We used to think parenting was hard work. Good, hard, tiring work. (Giggles.) Oh, we were so naive.

Since our children are now adults and near-adults, (the world calls them teenagers but I was under the impression that parents still had some influence over that age group), we post less. And you should know, it's NOT for lack of content!

It's just, it's really hard to write a blog post about your teenager getting drunk and throwing up in your cute powder room and ruining one of the towels that no one is supposed to use and the frantic Google search for how to tell if your BABY has alcohol poisoning. It feels scary to put out there that you suspect your teenager is in an unhealthy relationship and you don't know exactly how to walk the fine line of being their safe place to share and also guiding them to find their boundaries.

It's painful to write about your emerging adult questioning the existence of God and drifting away from their faith. It hurts when the evolution of friendships results in someone being intentionally excluded, perhaps even on the verge of bullied. We don't really want to sing from the mountaintops about tickets and bad grades, tattoos and piercings, secret social media pages and friends we're not sure about, fights and drug tests, mistrust and missed curfews, YOLO-ing and knowing-it-all, anxiety and fear for the future. (The list goes on...) OH.THE.WORRY.

But, we also know that we have useful words. We have advice and suggestions. We have aching hearts and fierce prayer power. Because, in truth, so many of us have a cross (or forty-two) that we are carrying. And with each burden, often we find embarrassment, guilt, exasperation, terror, anger, sorrow, confusion, despair, and a myriad of other heavy, heavy feelings. But the answer isn't to close your curtains and only post pictures of the happy times. If we sit alone with those feelings and don't share the reality of the rocky, often heart-breaking path, guess what? It's unhealthy and isolating and leaves us unfortified.

Friends, we need each other. We need a tribe with which we can lay down our burdens. A group to whom we can text our stories of rule-breaking, disrespectful, gray-hair-inducing teenagers. Maybe Holly and I can't post "How-To-Not-Throttle-Your-Teenager" guides on the blog anymore, but please know we're here for you. Anytime you need a safe and confidential and non-judgmental space, just call. We'll brew some tea, or chill some Fireball, and hold space for the hard, hard days. Then we'll celebrate our teens' slow, eventual growth, find hope in the moments they let us see they have heard some of what we've been saying to them all these years, and one day, when they're safely to the shore of reason, we might even have a good laugh. It's time's march, and as parents, we just have to keep showing up. For them, and for each other.

In the thick of it with you, we wish you love and strength and a good night's sleep.


Photo cred: Peter Fogden on Unsplash
Holly and Jenn

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