Teenagers, such a bitter sweet experience raising them, let me tell you people. And Brent and I are in uncharted territory as far as our friends and family go. We're the first to have them and the first to go through what you go through with them. (As we've been with every stage in having children since everyone else waited and we jumped right in LOL). But we're learning all the time what it takes, learning on the job. But isn't that the definition of parenting? Learning on the job?? Do the best you can do, love them, teach them, and pray for them to make it through the teenage years.
The Sweet: Those big kid hugs that are so rare seem so much more precious now when you get them. As babies they "need" the loving like food and water and you just get thier cuddles and kisses all day long. When they are teenagers, even though they actually still need it, they wouldn't admit that if their life depended on. So when you get the hugs, or a hand hold, you know they are doing it becuase they want to. Exactly how I think God feels when you come to him for no other reason than you want to. Not becuase you need anything. Getting that loving from a teenager is special. It is much further and farther between but when you get a little, you know they are doing it for other reasons; for you (maybe realizing a mom needs a hug or loving) or becuase they just want to hug you.
The Bitter Sweet: Today we were all in the car together, as a family. What's the big deal you ask? Well, this doesn't happen much any more now that Grant is graduated and has his own car. And since Ashley got more of her own life going on. Even Sunday's, Grant has met us at church. Today we were all in the same car for the first time in months and I cherished it. I looked around the car at my family and thought, I wonder how long before this happens again?? Or will it ever again? Call me crazy sentimental, I know. I'm the same crazy person that thought about that last time you put your child down and NEVER pick them up again. Here, let me explain. You know how you are always picking up your baby, your toddler, you little kid, shoot, i'm still picking up Blake so 13 isn't unheard of. But....there will come a day when you pick up that big kid, hug him, set his/her feet on the ground and you NEVER pick them up in your arms again, ever. This is such a sad thought to me, especially since it's practically impossible to know when that last time is. On thinking about this today I think I haven't picked up Blake now in a bit and I'll bet I can't any more. He jsut grew like 5 inches and two shoe sizes in the last month. Now, of course, I'll have to try but I'll bet it's over. A month or two ago I picked him up, hugged him, and set him down to never hold my baby in my arms like that again.
Well, teenagers are an interesting species. We are doing our best and praying every day but in the end, this walk of life we each have, it's between ourselves and our God and no one else. Brent and I can be there to guide them and love them and help them, but they have to make the decisions themselves on how they walk the walk. And something I had to learn early on so I wouldn't go crazy, it's not personal to the parents. If you did your best, if you will be proud to stand before God and go over your parenting style with him, then it is not personal if your child turns out to be the black sheep of them family. That is personal between the child and God.
Parenting is personal too....this is what I tell people who want to give me advice, and Brent tells them this too, if you havne't been through what we've been through, and been through it successfully, then do NOT give us advice. We only take advice from parents who have successfully been through the stage that we are at now. Now, I love comparing issues with parents who are IN the same issues we are in. But if you don't have teenagers, don't try to give people advice about their teenagers. You have NO clue what it's like raising and loving one of these interesting creatures.
So yeah, it is like nailing jello to a tree trying to raise these guys, but knowing that I have God, and that I've been raising my children the way God tells me to raise them since day one, then I know I just have to keep trying to nail that Jello up to that tree and hope it starts sticking one day.