We survived New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. It was surprisingly pleasant, considering the amount of chaos in the home. The older teenagers congregated an hour earlier where I had domestically warmed Costco meatballs soaked in Teriyaki sauce via slow cooker, set out a relish tray (Costco), and left chips and chocolate open for free grazing. Unfortunately, the teens were either not hungry or too nervous being in the presence of the opposite sex. We still have 4 and a half bags of chips which is odd since we started with only 4 and a mess of meatballs.
Anyway, the big kids went downstairs when the younger teens started showing up. These were all girls and they still didn't eat my meatballs and chips. Nor would they touch the nutritious and delicious relish tray.
Our own boys made themselves scarce; the 11 year old and his gang had an impromptu party at a neighbor's house (thanks for telling me, young man! Ever heard of the telephone?!) and the 6 year old found the houseful of teenagers far too stimulating and went to sleep on the sofa at 8:00. What the houseful of strangers did for the rest of the evening was none of my business. Scott and I (along with the asleep child) went to our room. Exiled. And so our new life of being unremarkable and boring continues. I just never thought this would be me.
Funny thing is that I really don't mind it. I planned on being fun for the rest of my life but I don't mind that I'm boring. There were moments before I was exiled that I forgot that I was the mother and made remarks and provided commentary for the teenagers in my kitchen that I thought were hilariously clever and witty. I was reminded by their blank stares followed by a question mark appearing above their heads that they are a different generation. I don't belong as a peer.
I have discovered that I'm really more of a teenager person. Babies are cute and cuddly and I love to watch them laugh or hear them babble. Pre-schoolers are full of wonder and say funny things. Then they turn into kids which are generally dirty, needy, and need so much input and guidance. They're a lot of work and it isn't so cute when they burp or fart. But then one day they turn into teenagers who think abstractly and make witty comments and entertain me. They take but they also give back a little and rise to expectations. They become self-aware and want to shower so they smell good. They want to comb their hair every single day and sometimes they even want to brush their teeth. They don't throw temper tantrums in public as often but if they do, you can walk away without fear of having them kidnapped. And they're funny. Oh, so very funny. Yet it's still so hard to recognize that I'm not "one of them." Because I just was.
Not only that, but there are expectations of me, too. I'm supposed to set boundaries and enforce them but I've already been doing that for years and I'm tired. Haven't I done enough? If my 16 year old doesn't know my expectations by now then she's extremely dim witted. But she's not. She's highly intelligent, an awful lot of fun and I feel so conflicted when she tells me that her *not* boyfriend held her hand or kissed her on the head and I get excited for her and then I remember that I'm the mother and the expectation is that I have the morality talk with her.
I will just have to live with the dissonance of my split lives. The fun Nancy that butts into her children's parties and the Mom Nancy that carries her guilt for all her children's possible neuroses, knowing that I could have prevented some of them had I only given the morality lecture one more time. Although maybe by giving my kids a little credit, their own guilt won't manifest itself until they are well into their forties and enjoy a neurotic-free young adulthood.
I can't win, can I? At least the kids were happy on New Year's Eve. And I was deeply satisfied (although still neurotic) to see them all happy. And I didn't give a single lecture. It was so nice.