My Dad came by today to pick up Matthew for Youth Group tonight. Every Wednesday, Poppy as he is known to my children, comes by after work to pick Matthew up so he can have dinner with them before they take him in to the church. These special times are some of Matthew's favorite each week. Today, while waiting for Matthew to get ready, since he failed to do so in a timely manner, Dad and I were discussing raising teens.
What a loaded subject!
It seems that Dad was able to relate to my issues. I fail to see how. My brother and I were model citizens, weren't we? Surely the children my Dad referred to in our conversation were neighbors down the street. Or perhaps they were children of one of the church families. Or even my cousins. Not innocent little ol' us? Perish the thought!
According to Dad, and again let me say that this just couldn't have been my brother and I, but according to Dad, it seems two teenagers were left to their own devices for a few days and given 'sustenance money' by the parents just in case they needed anything that wasn't already provided by the house full of standard groceries. Imagine the parents surprise when those two teenagers went out and spent the money on a newly released Atari video game and proceeded to keep themselves busy for hours on end playing instead of worrying about where their next meal was coming from. According to this mythological tale, said teenagers subsisted on hot dogs with cheese made under the broiler and popcorn as a side dish. Imagine, will you! How could they survive? And it seems that the parental figure managed that same "I can't believe what you just did that" look that seems to pop up on my face time and time again when my teenager does something categorically unthinkable. Oh no! It couldn't be that 'the look' is hereditary, could it? *sigh*
As I considered our conversation after they left together I realized that it is apparently a stage all parents must endure. It is apparently a right of passage that all teens do something that causes their parents to ponder the proclivity of their prodigy to pull off some preposterous plot that pleases the teenage mind but produces pure despondency on the parents part. Ah, childhood. Apparently it is a necessary element to growing in to wonderfully mature adults. Given the rate that Matthew is able to produce 'the look' on our faces, I can only assume that he will be even more mature than my brother and I, er, make that my cousins, when he reaches that magic age of adulthood. Meanwhile, I'll keep trying to remember that we all make mistakes and that loving him through it all is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me. Thanks Mom and Dad. You are my heroes.