One thing I've learned this summer about raising teenagers is that I know nothing about raising teenagers. It is, honest to God, the most humbling experience I think I'll ever have. Maybe when I'm all "finished" (as much as you can be) with raising all of these kids...all six of them out of the house and on their own and with families of their own, I'll have an answer or two. Until then, we are flying by the seats of our pants here, like all other parents of teens across the world, and trying to ride the waves.
It's a whole different ball game folks and as rewarding as it is to see kids grow and change and mature and become adults, it will knock you back down to the ground quicker than you can shove that big piece of "humble pie" down your throat.
But this is an example of a moment of teenager-hood I love. Isaac had a dentist appointment across town and so did Patrick. I called from my OB's office where I needed a non-stress test so I would be held up awhile and told Isaac he had to handle it all himself. Feed Patrick lunch, look up directions, install and make sure Patrick was safe in his car seat and drive him to the appointment (leave on time!) and then make sure Patrick was OK during his first cavity-filling experience. (I am lucky that the dentist was my brother-in-law so Isaac and Patrick had lots of back-up support.)
I was waiting patiently to see how the whole she-bang went and in they walked with smiles on their faces when they got home...and Isaac even took Patrick, on his own, with his own money, to Mr. Freeze for the perfect cheek-numbing treat afterwards.
I think years ago before I had teens I would have read this post and thought "big deal". But now I know-it IS a big deal in so many ways. To care for a younger sibling (for teens to think outside themselves is a HUGE deal!), to drive carefully enough to be trusted with precious cargo, to navigate directions and get some place on time, to follow a host of speedily given instructions by me, to spend money earned by themselves on someone besides themselves...I love it all.
But I'm NOT bragging, no way, that's like asking for it big time when it comes to teenage parenting. If I do that, someone will come home with a tattoo or a speeding ticket, or purple colored hair. (Please no!) I just need to remember the little steps in the right direction to remind me that we just might be gaining ground here all around.