Sunday, September 27, 2009

Teenagers X 3

So today my youngest child became a teenager. I was relieved to find him very much the same as always. I've been freaking out over this milestone. I mean, Peter has always been my baby, my little boy, the one who likes to cuddle before bed, the little brother. This year he started junior high, and now he's a teenager. But you know what, now that the moment has arrived, I'm good with it.

Like any good teenage boy, most of Peter's presents were of the electronic genre. And I'm good with that too. I limited my children's electronics in their early lives. I did allow TV, and educational computer games. But I wouldn't allow televisions in their rooms, or computers. They recently got computers, rationalized as "for school," which is like saying the TV is for work. As the years have gone on, I've allowed more electronics, and they seem to handle limiting themselves pretty well. They still do plenty of reading, writing, and a host of other things.

I find it really fascinating, in fact, the variety of interests my children have. But there are two basic similarities: music and books. Melissa is a choir nut, including bell choir. Emily loves piano and frequently composes pieces for piano. Peter is a drummer and is also in a boys choir. As for books, their tastes vary hugely, but they all love books. And they all love to write.

Okay, movies would be another common interest, although it gets a little tricky finding a movie everyone wants to go see together. So we tend to go in pairs or three of us at most.

This is turning into a rather rambling post. But I meant it to reflect how I feel about my children growing up. They have turned out to be people I very much like to hang out with. That has always been my hope, that they would grow up to be the sort of people I would want to be friends with. They have taught me an infinite load of wisdom that I desperately needed to learn. They have made me a better person. It sounds so cliche, but it really is true. I owe them so much of who I am. I hope I can continue to be blessed to learn from them for many, many more years.

This does not preclude moments when I want to throttle them senseless. But the fact that I haven't (yet) indicates just how much they have taught me. Patience, for starters. My poor mother tried to teach me patience all during my formative years. She'd say, "Patience dear." I hated that. I didn't learn real patience until these three challenging persons entered my life. They've taught me, too, about true acceptance. I have had to force myself, even in those times when I so vehemently didn't want to, to allow my children to be their own persons, to acknowledge their ownership of their own lives. I suppose deep down most of us somewhere inside of ourselves wish our children would be little clones of ourselves. Wouldn't that be so affirming? I suppose it would also be tremendously boring. I accept each one of them for who they are and what they want for themselves. It's going to be exciting and probably quite entertaining to watch as they enter adulthood and try those things on.

Thirteen years ago, at this hour of the evening, I held my baby boy and rested in my bed at home. I felt so strong and capable--he was 10 lb., 10 oz. at birth. We joked that he was two months old at birth. He is now a delightful young man who loves band, chess, boy scouts, backugan (don't ask), baseball, school, grossing out his sisters, building and tearing apart things, cooking, riding his bike, playing with his dogs, and playing games on his new Nintendo DSi, the Wii, and his computer. Happy Birthday, Peter.

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