Today when I was at Target, for my daily Target run, I had an unpleasant realization. Right as I was reaching for the Prilosec for Billy, and Tums for me, BOOM, it hit: we have officially reached the category called: “middle age”. Instead of going home and crying about it, I stopped at Panera and bought a cherry pastry, AND a cinnamon crunch bagel with crème cheese. I proceeded to eat them both in a 10 minute span of time, and when I was done, I concluded: eating my feelings tastes better than feeling them.
The fact that I am finally admitting we are middle age may seem ridiculous to some, I mean c’mon, Billy will be 50 in 2018. We’ve been checking the “middle age” box on all the forms for longer than I want to admit. I think having a 5 year old has helped me to live in my previous state of denial. Sometimes I even think I can relate to all the other mom’s of 5 year olds. When I approach them awkwardly as we wait for the children to be let out of kindergarten, I realize 2 things immediately: 1. I am not wearing yoga pants with Uggs, and 2. I am probably the only one wearing cotton underwear that actually covers my butt.
Thankfully we have teenagers to help us feel young and hip. Just the other day Faith commented “that is so tumbler mom”. Naturally I agreed with her that whatever IT was, was actually “super tumbler”. She laughed and tried to explain it to me, so I shushed her and said I already knew what all the cool lingo means, no need to try and help me out. Later, when she was gone, I googled the word. I knew it was some kind of social media thing, but when I looked deeper, I saw that there wasn’t even a definition for it on any of the slang sites. The takeaway is this: if you want to appear cool, make up words and use them with confidence.
Speaking of teenagers, wow, they sure eat a lot. Not to mention they need money at every turn, and also give really good dirty looks. I wonder if anyone has written any good books on how to help teens eat less, work more, and speak nicely to their parents. That would be a book I would read. My sister and I have a phrase that we text each other from time to time that reads, “parenting is so easy”. We know that if we receive that text, it means there has been some sort of hard conversation had, a dirty look given, or someone had to be bailed out of jail.
Actually, in all honesty, this is an amazing phase of life, and I love getting to experience having teenagers. Dinner conversations are lively, opinions are interesting, and the worldview our kids are developing is unique. Billy and I love talking to the kids about what they are struggling with, or how they see God working in their life. We laugh at the same dumb stuff, and we find that being honest and real is opening doors to conversations we never knew we would get to have with our kids. We have hard days too, where hormones are flying and everyone is grumpy. Those times make me miss the days where all they did was follow me into the bathroom so I never had any time alone.
Recently I announced to my 2 eldest children, Jack and Faith, that I was no longer going to be their laundry-go-to girl. Furthermore, I told them they are now completely responsible for their clean clothes from hanger to hanger and every step in between. It was either this, or I continue to feel used and frustrated. This information came particularly hard for Jack, my first born, as he prefers being served. Tonight we will have a few educational moments with the washer and dryer as I explain how they are to be used. I’m almost giddy with excitement.
As usual, Billy and I are learning as we go, and this season of life has been very educational. We are learning to give space to our kids when we don’t agree. We are learning to let them make their own choices and be there to help them up when they fall down. We are learning to listen better and say sorry when they tell us we have hurt them. We are learning to hug them even when they are a foot taller than we are and it seems like they don’t want a hug. We are learning that their personalities are still in process, just like ours are too.
For now, all the big kids are still out doing their thing: working, volleyball, youth group. The house isn’t empty though, and Zoe reminds me that she is ready for me to read her a book. The age gap is wide, between her and her big siblings, and some days it makes me tired to think about the big picture. But this is not the time to start worrying about how old I’ll be when she graduates. For now, we will read about giving a mouse a cookie, sit in Grandma Ruby’s rocker, cuddle, and listen to “Jesus Loves Me”. Then its time for hugs and prayers. And may the peace of God cover us all.