Being the mother of teenagers is weird as hell, y’all. It’s just crazy.
My niece is the mother of three little ones and is in the boat I used to be in a decade or so ago. Whenever I talk to her, I look back and think, “Wow, I was there. Here seemed so very far away. And yet… I’m smack in the middle of it.” In a way, this post is for her. But also? This post is for the me ten years from now that will be a mom of full-fledged adults. Because THAT shit will be absolutely cray.
I’m convinced that Jarrod is trying to get a head-start on his infectious disease vaccine career. Why? Because whenever I step into his room, there’s a smell. Not a “those socks haven’t been washed in two weeks and take a damned shower” smell. More like an “aren’t those the chicken nuggets we bought for dinner last week” smell. Yeah. From time to time, I’ll stop in to his room, gesticulate wildly in the general direction of everything, and yell something about, “WHAT IN TARNATION IS THAT STENCH?!” (Note: Yes, I say tarnation.). Eventually, I’ll find a bowl full of curdled milk and moldy Cheerios that I had no clue were even in said room in the kitchen sink and the nuggets will still be sitting on his desk, in front of the keyboard he looks at every evening when he plays video games. I just keep telling myself that someday, he’ll discover a cure for teen angst amidst all of that old food.
Amelia and her friends will FaceTime each other at all hours of the day and night. No lie. I will go downstairs to check on her and there, on her side table, will be her phone, plugged in and charging, with an active FaceTime call. On the screen will be several of her friends, all sleeping. It’s like a virtual slumber party. They will talk all day and into the wee hours. No one will hang up. They’ll just stay on the call, each falling asleep at different times, eventually waking one another up when they regain consciousness the next day.
Tyler and I will be in the family room, watching whatever TV show has piqued our interest, when Heath will march in, cracking his knuckles, ready to talk. He will launch in to his most recent computer creation, whether it’s an ocean liner he’s created on Roblox or a new flag he’s designed. He will pace the floor, nearly wearing out the carpet, sometimes for ten solid minutes. We’ll pause whatever we’re watching and just watch and listen, interjecting every now and then with “Uh-huh” or “Cool!” And then he’ll go silent, walk back upstairs, and Tyler and I will just look at each other, shrug, and realize we’ve been witness to another Heath drive-by. He just designed a new flag for Cherokee County and emailed the county commissioners telling them about it. Not that there’s been a request for a new flag, he just thinks the current one is rather ho-hum. (Cue “Sheldon Cooper’s Fun with Flags” intro music.) Also? He’s on reddit. And it’s a never ending cycle of each of us texting the other with funny memes and cat videos we’ve both found on said web site.
All three of them sleep in. And when I say “sleep in” I mean “there are some weekends when it’s 1PM and I go to their bedrooms and hold my index finger under their noses to feel for breath because I’m worried they’ve passed in their sleep.” When we’re all kids, don’t we all make promises to our future children? That you’ll never repeat the sins of your parents? Mine have always been that I will let the kids sleep in on weekends/holidays/summer and not force them to accompany me to the grocery store. But, sometimes? When they sleep in until the wee hours of the afternoon? It freaks me out. And not only do they sleep in, but the boys will sleep in their clothes. They eschew pajamas. They shower, put on clothes, go to bed, and roll out the next morning. I mean, it’s brilliant? But I’m waiting for the day when they have jobs and are calling me to ask how to remove sleep wrinkles from a tie.
The most common phrases uttered in the house:
Chill your beans! (Jarrod. To me. When I complain about the old food smell permeating his room.)
So, there’s this video on TikTok… (Amelia. All the time.)
OH MY GOD, JARROD! (Heath. Most days.)
YOU’RE DAMAGING MY CALM! (Tyler. Typically in the evenings. When the kids and I get riled up.)
No lie. You guys are the G.O.A.T. (Me. To multiple members of my family. Even when they leave Cheetos ground into my purple carpet.