No, I don't have any of my own yet. For the record, the Simple Kids are 10, 8, and 5.
Teenagers scare me.
I've been scared about my children turning into teenagers since they were born I think.
And I'm generally someone who isn't scared of that much. I'm also someone who kind of rolls with life. Maybe not always happily, but rolls none the less.
And I was a teenager, and I turned out o.k. Eventually.
I think it is the eventually part that makes me scared.
That, and when I see other teenagers. I see how snotty they are to each other. I see how mean they can be. I see how how rude they are to anyone that they don't know. I know that not all teenagers are like that.
And I really, truly, don't think that I was snotty, mean, or rude.
But I also see other teenagers. The ones that worry about what others think about them. The ones that get hurt, so hurt, way too young. The ones who are lost and feel like no one understands them. The ones who can't see past today, much less what their life will be, could be in a year, in 5 years.
That kind of teenager was closer to me. And I know not all teenagers are like that either.
My parents were good parents. They were strict, but I always knew they loved me. But yet, things went wrong for me during those years. And some days, I still feel like that 15 year old. A fifteen year old that was so lost, and in so much pain, and couldn't/wouldn't let anybody help her.
It could have been worse. And I know, I know that I'm not the only one who had a tough time as a teenager.
And I think teenage-dom is tough on some level for everyone. And I think, honestly, it is supposed to be. If everything was great, you'd never leave home. If everything was easy, you'd never have to learn how strong you were. If you could do everything well, you'd never have to learn how to try. Or how to fail, and try again.
But yet, I'm so afraid for my children when they become teenagers. I want someone to promise me that they won't be hurt too badly. I want someone to promise me that they won't make bad decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. I want someone to promise me that we will be able to have a good relationship, not necessarily the same kind of relationship that we have now, but one that is still nurturing while giving them the freedom to grow. I want someone to promise me that I won't be so afraid of the bad, that I don't allow them to do things that will help them be great.
But there are no promises like that in Life.
And I know that people say "You can teach them, and lead by example, and then you just have to trust."
I am going to have to spend all of the next few years, trying to do all of those things better - teaching, leading, and trusting.
But maybe the next year and a half could go really slow. Or maybe we could have three Mays this year. And four or five Augusts. Or maybe time could just stand still for a few months.
But I'll probably just have to settle for looking at them at night and trying to freeze the image of them still young, in my mind.
Postcards from Pennsylvania
1 day ago