This season is different. It is all-consuming. It is all about them, but I really miss us!
Let me start by saying I love my people with all my heart. Really, I do. But I would be lying if I didn’t add that this has been the hardest season I have ever faced as a mom. My sweet hubby and I have three daughters, two of whom are teens. The whirlwind of emotions is broad and real around here. It’s not easy to put on a brave face day after day, giving and giving, only to be pushed away, ignored, or ridiculed.
And, to be honest, we are tired. Like when they were toddlers type tired, just more emotionally worn and mentally tapped out. Raising teens really isn’t that much different. They still push buttons. They still test boundaries. And they still talk back, it just so happens to be as they are backing out of the driveway instead of inside the grocery store.
Truthfully, being a parent in this day in age has its own rhythm of highs and lows, ups and downs, and joys and sorrows. It comes with its own unique pattern, where it weaves just enough moments that take your breath away to keep you from crumbling from the weight and pressure of it all. Because of that, there is the innate need for nearly every parent to provide a somewhat normal childhood that will hopefully bring joy and cause them to reflect with fond memories. And that’s what we do, we put our focus on them.
But, once the teen years roll around, we can’t help but think, we’re almost there. We’re in the last inning. We can do this! But we quickly find out, it’s the longest stretch, and just because they’ve grown up (a little) and start to pull away (a lot), it doesn’t mean they don’t need us. Come to find out, they need us more than ever.
Now we are fixing popped tires and checking on Life360 to make sure they are where they say they are. We are meeting friends who can change their lives and walking with them through their first heartbreaks. We are setting boundaries and releasing them, all at the same time. We are discussing hard topics and giving them the chance to form their own opinions. We are watching them make mistakes while tearfully standing on the sidelines, cheering them on to self-correct.
Yep, this is the toughest season of parenting, we tell ourselves, and it is all about them. (Even though, I vaguely remember saying this when they were infants and toddlers too). But, as with any hard season of parenting, I find myself saying: As much as I love them, I really miss us.
I miss when we used to talk about our hopes. Our dreams. Our mission and goals. And then, that romantic girl within me really misses how we used to chase after our love. So, I find myself grieving the past, trying to remain steadfast in the present, and praying that we somehow find us again in the near future.
Then, after a few days, months, and sometimes even years of this unnoticed and awkward distance, a new unrecognizable us emerges, and we realize it is time to make a shift and put us back together again.
We acknowledge we’ve both let go of each other, but that we really needed to let go of the past. We realize we need to take the next step forward, or the present will consume us. And while this current season is begging for us to make it all about them, we can’t forget that it all started with us. You and me.
Sure, over the course of time, we have changed, and this whole parenting gig has really worn us both out, but we can’t just give up on us. The old us may be gone, but there is a new us that is coming out of all this. And it will carry us into the next season. So, we must hold on . . . together.
Seasons come and seasons go. And yes, this season may be hard, but I am honored to be doing it all with you. And, while it may be about them (we both know that it always will be), with each new and ever-changing season, it can also be about creating a new us. Because, darling, our love is worth it!