Saturday was my son's birthday, the big thirteen, meaning that there are now two creatures in my house called teenage boys. They hover over me at 6'1" and 5'8", eat enough to fill a small cow daily, and combined let me know that they are more knowledgeable on every subject in the Universe while I daily grow more slow and stupid. Their sweat is more potent than any being on earth, if I ask for something to be done twice in one day then I am a nag, and they have attitude that could stretch to China.
Oh, how I love them.
They are figuring out who they are, what girls are about, how much relationships can hurt and give joy, and how to drive a car (the oldest). Getting away from me to hang out with their friends is paramount to their happiness, but want to know when I will be home when I am fifteen minutes late. The fact that I may have ever, could ever, have possibly gone through similar feelings, emotions and experiences as a teenager is as elusive a thought as cleaning the bathroom toilet without being told.
Their relationship is love/hate. Hate when the other drank the last soda in the house and love when they collaborate to get me to buy something new. Oh, and when they play computer games together--nothing brings together a family like League of Legends.
Every stage of their lives, I step back and recognize the wonder of what they are going through. It's like watching reality television in my home. There are times when I get caught up in the drama, hurt by insensitive remarks, angry over chores not done, and exasperated with the attitude. As I get better with the parenting thing, my times of reacting to situations lessons and is filled instead with clarity of response.
The teen years are about passion, discovery, and breaking away from parents. They learn about the loyalty of good friends and how to be a friend. Life long memories are created, good and bad, that can only be experienced with such intensity when it is for the first time. There is nothing else like the teen years for the rest of our lives.
And I get to be a part of it. Albeit, from a distance, some times more, some times less, but always present--even if its just by cell phone or a ride home. They push me away but want to be certain that I am around to be pushed.
Every stage they've gone through, I've sworn that this is the best one. Emotionally, this is the most challenging for me; watching them go through hurts and not being allowed in to help. But I thank everything there is to thank that I am a part of their wonderful lives.