Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Labor pains

{A repost because I'm feeling this especially keenly this summer}

The other day, a few of us were discussing parenting. Specifically, the parenting of teens.

Parenting teens is a unique experience.It is when karma bites you in the butt. Everywhere there are parents in their mid 30s-50s doing penance for all the grey hairs, heartache, and high blood pressure they caused their own parents as teenagers. It is the time when you finally appreciate the sacrifices your parents made in your behalf. Especially the one where they placed their sanity on the sacrificial altar of parenthood, as you are now doing the same for your own children.

I've met women who love their kids' teenage years, or at least say they do. I am thinking it's because they have already walked through the fiery hot coals of a savage toddlerhood and the teen years are a cake walk in comparison. But for a lot of us it is just the opposite.

We have been given children with strong personalities, and when they enter adolescence - it's a setup for an emotional collision of cosmic proportions. It's as if we're giving birth a second time to the same child, only this time it's an emotional birth. There are the same pains of labor, a wish for heavy medication, and desperate prayers for this experience to be over so we can hold this child in our arms, and of course show him off to all who will look.

Do you remember the pain of Transition? There is that to look forward to, because it means it's almost over. It is the time to remember your breathing exercises, to concentrate on your end goal, and work together as husband and wife. It is also the time you're most tempted to scream & throw things, to blame your spouse for all the pain you're in, to throw in the towel and walk away - only you can't, there is only one way out of this, and it's right smack through the middle of the hard stuff.

But wait! what about the baby/teen? Have you ever wondered what that baby was thinking in the middle of his/her birth? I'm sure it wasn't all that pleasant: leaving the relative comfort and security of the womb, getting squeezed from all sides (talk about your pressure), and then taking that first, deep scary breath - not knowing how it's going to turn out. No wonder there's all that crying at the end. It's just as hard on them.

And I came to the realization that teens? they are God's way of making sure we do not forget Him.


Kristina P. said...

I work with teenagers, and love them, but I am not a parent of one, and I don't envy parents who are!

Amy said...

I am in toddlerhood. Are you saying that if we are being run through the ringer now, the teenage years will be a breeze?! That is fantastic news! :)

Mrs. Organic said...

That's what I hear. Although my kids were angels as toddlers and I'm getting my due now.