Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Teenage Wasteland

Out here in the fields
I fight for my meals
I get my back into my living
I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven

Don't cry
Don't raise your eye
It's only teenage wasteland


- “Baba O’Riley” – The Who

Overheard in my car last night as we chauffeured seven 14-year olds from fireworks to the ice cream shop:

“Man, yesterday, I got up at noon and watched TV until four. It was amazing.”

“Yeah, I love doing that.”

Welcome to summer in the midst of ‘teenville’ where breakfast either doesn’t exist or is eaten no earlier than 11:00 am, followed shortly by the plaintive: “What do we have for lunch?”

It’s a world where schedules are thrown to the wind, unless they revolve around a paycheck. It’s a place where if everyone is home for dinner, it’s only because you’re making something good, they’ve run out of money, or their friends are all away on vacation.

My life has made a 360 degree change from the days of toddlers waking up at dawn and wanting to be fed and immediately paid attention to. Now, I’m the one up early and the only reason I’m getting attention is if I’m handing out money or not washing clothes fast enough.

The lights are left on, the dishes are unwashed and the toilet paper is never replaced but you can be sure that the iPods are updated, the cell phones are charged and the away messages have been left. After all, they have their priorities.

They sleep into the afternoon and they stay up into the wee hours of the morning. I sometimes wonder if they’re working 3rd shift somewhere.

My vantage point is through the laundry chute where, I swear to God, their clothes are breeding. How else to explain how in a single day, one girl can wear SIX shirts?

Once in a great while, they stop from their whirlwind life and sit down next to me to chat or watch a TV show that I’m watching. It’s at those moments that I wish that I could make time stand still for just a little while. Because as they flit in and out of our house with keys jingling and cell phones buzzing, I feel them slowly slipping through my fingers.

25 Comments:

At 5:30 PM , Anonymous Anne Glamore said...

I just left my kids home alone for an hour and a half to run some errands. I've hit a milestone. Is the world you describe far behind?

 
At 5:58 PM , Blogger Jess Riley said...

Don't worry, they'll be back! :) I can personally attest, because not so long ago I was one of the sleep-til-nooners/messy roomers. I've got a totally different perspective now that I'm older, with my own job, responsibilities, and bills. :) Hope your 4th was great!

 
At 6:02 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

Yeah, just recently my 17 year old sister was complaining to me that her Ipod only had two hours worth of battery. How is she supposed to get by with only two hours worth????
Needless to say, I wasn't all that sympathetic, as I remembered my own, clumsy, battery operated radio with the antennae that never stayed in the same place without duct tape.

 
At 8:31 AM , Blogger srp said...

Money and laundry.... it always brings them back... even when out of the "teenage wasteland". What reality does "fighting for my meals" as a teen who sleeps past noon have anyway?

Mine just turned 20. She planned her summer so full that so far we have had seven days together since May. And most of those were doing laundry and repacking, or moving in and out of dorms.

Ah, yes, old age catching up, I forgot about the lovely concept of the college dorm.

When I went to college, I went 1600 miles away from home. My dad took me as a freshman, moved all the stuff in and then it was my job to figure out the storage and such. Of course they let those of us that far away store a trunk and a chest of drawers in the basement each year. But I didn't take all manner of refridgerators, microwaves, etc.

Now, Nyssa spent her last two years of high school at the Math and Science school in a dorm. Refrigerator to third floor and out year one, second floor and out, year two. OF course the hand-me-down loveseat with the nasty upholstery somehow ended up in my garage for the first summer as well. Thank goodness someone else had the honors the next year.

On to college. Twelve hour drive to and from with hauling of said fridge and rug and other nonsense to second floor. And in May, out again. Transfer to college an hour from home. GREAT!!! Haul fridge to second floor in August and out in May, only to haul it into a second dorm two weeks later for a four week stay for summer session. Then back again.

In the last four years this poor dorm fridge has been transported up to a room five times, down five times and has been in seven states.

So laundry, money and moving in and out of dorms and apartments will always bring them back.

 
At 1:26 PM , Blogger Mrs. Belle said...

I can not even imagine! It does sound like fun though, to hear and watch them becoming adults (although sad at the same time!)

 
At 4:41 PM , Blogger kenju said...

And hopefully, when they're a little older, they'll slip back in too.

 
At 11:00 PM , Blogger Rene said...

I'm the one with little kids getting up early and wanting to be fed. I wish they would sleep until noon at least once a week. Everyone tells me I'm going to miss these days. I don't know, I'd really like to see them get their own cheerios in the morning.

 
At 8:18 AM , Blogger kristal said...

My kids range from 2 to 15 and I haven't had to deal with a lot of this yet. My older kids are still very family oriented and spend most of their time at home.

Here from Michele's

 
At 10:32 AM , Anonymous Cyndy said...

I haven't any children, but I can related to my own nieces who are grown up now and as they were teens, they did slip away and it's sad...but I do believe they come back...and then you can really nuture an adult bond with them.
Here from Michele

 
At 10:35 AM , Anonymous Nienke said...

Beautifully written! I don't even have kids and I understand how you feel.

Here from Michele's

 
At 3:25 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

That's a column. The ending nails it...time flies so fast, and then it's over.

These are wise words to live by as our oldest hurtles toward teendom. I know it's coming. Now, thanks to your words, the mystery is slightly less foggy.

 
At 3:27 PM , Blogger srp said...

Back again from Michele this time.

Enjoy them, warts and all, while you can. Mine is 20 and has gone to the gulf coast to work rebuilding Bay St. Louis. Three weeks of hard labor will be very, very good for her.

 
At 3:36 PM , Blogger Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Very nicely written.

Here via Michele's.

 
At 5:14 AM , Anonymous charles ravndal said...

Oooohh I can relate to that when I was still on that certain age level. I usually change clothes like 4 to 5 times a day. I cant seem to make up my mind

 
At 11:18 AM , Blogger Foster Dogs said...

Hi, Michele sent me.

I see you are a dog lover. Would you mind linking to my blog? It's a blog about rescue dogs.

Thanks!

 
At 11:32 AM , Blogger Les Becker said...

Oh, to be able to rewind 20-odd years to when I used to be able to barrell down a remote highway with that tape blasting out of the speakers! Now the excitement comes with trying to think up cruel ways to get that girl out of that bed before noon. I'll let you know if I ever manage... Here from Michele's.

 
At 4:02 PM , Blogger panthergirl said...

Wow... I'd give my eye teeth for a summer without schedules. We get up earlier than during the school year, because I have to drive my son 1/2 hour to the camp bus which leaves at 8AM. Ugh.

There are three weeks between the end of camp and the beginning of school, which is a horror for me as a working parent. What the heck are people supposed to do with their kids for three weeks?? There's no way I can take that much vacation in one chunk. Ugh.

Anyway.... I love that song. ;)

Here via michele today, Karen! Always happy when she sends me.

 
At 4:02 PM , Blogger panthergirl said...

Wow... I'd give my eye teeth for a summer without schedules. We get up earlier than during the school year, because I have to drive my son 1/2 hour to the camp bus which leaves at 8AM. Ugh.

There are three weeks between the end of camp and the beginning of school, which is a horror for me as a working parent. What the heck are people supposed to do with their kids for three weeks?? There's no way I can take that much vacation in one chunk. Ugh.

Anyway.... I love that song. ;)

Here via michele today, Karen! Always happy when she sends me.

 
At 6:30 AM , Blogger kenju said...

On my return trip (via Michele) I will echo SRP; enjoy them while you can and be grateful for every return. All too many people hardly ever see their kids after they are grown. I bet yours will come back often.

 
At 11:24 AM , Blogger Paige said...

Hi ya Karen, here by way of Michele's, seems ya popped up between me & kenju to which I now go. Happy weekend

 
At 3:02 PM , Blogger Miss Cow is a Cow said...

here via Michele's.

 
At 12:10 AM , Anonymous kontan said...

wow, this is what I have to look forward to! 4 years away, I'm not ready

 
At 9:04 AM , Blogger Sissy B. said...

I feel that way and mine is only eleven!! It is always a joy to stop by and visit....your way of taking a "day in the life" and adding your special blend of ingredients...keeps me smiling :)

 
At 9:28 AM , Anonymous Heels said...

Reading this gave me a lump in my throat and an actual physical pain somewhere just above my gut.

I'm still parenting a little girl and a baby, so the notion that one day they'll slip through my fingers is a heartbreaker and utterly unthinkable.

Funny, hunh?

Beautiful, poignant entry.

(Oh, and tho I now know who Michele is and love her blog, I'm not here from there. I'm here from me.)

Signed,
She who does too many things at once during her lunch hour.

 
At 9:28 AM , Blogger rampant bicycle said...

Ah, teenage life. I haven't been a mom yet, so can't really offer an educated opinion, but maybe it's some consolation to throw in: yes, my mom and I were kind of ships in the night when I was a teen, but we're good friends now, with a better appreciation of each other as people. So there may be goodness to look forward to yet, is what I think I am trying to say. Hang in there. :)

Oh, and hello from Michele's!

 

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