Oct 11, 2009

Teenagers: They're Human Like Us

A lot of people don’t like teenagers. I do. Teens are much like three-year-olds. They want to assert their independence, but very few  have any wisdom. They are ferocious and fearless and think they’re invincible.

Teenagers’ have great passion for things they don’t understand. They spout fiction, thinking it's fact. One teen just told me that if you’re not born in America, you can’t be president – see what I mean? Teens think my music and my ignorance about computers and football is funny. They try to explain those things to me, not realizing that I don’t care about anything that doesn't concern me. One tried to teach me how to use the Interweb and explain why my floppy disk doesn’t fit into my computer anymore. He couldn't tell I wasn't listening. That’s what makes him cute. Yes, toddlers are adorable, but teens can hold conversations and control their bladders. That's quite an advantage, especially on a job interview.

I see teens all the time at my job at the quickie mart. That's why I’m such a big fan. I’ll give you an example. I was talking to one little cutie who was telling me about Green Day. I assumed that was a new, improved version of Earth Day, but it’s a band. He also went on and on about All-American Rejects.* To watch his eyes light up as he blabbered on about less fortunate citizens was heartwarming. As he kept yacking, I wondered if it's possible to lapse into a coma and keep your eyes open at the same time. But the boy spoke so animatedly that I couldn’t interrupt and break his little heart.

When he finally took a breath, I asked why he wasn’t in school on a weekday. (Get out your hanky. This next part will make you cry.) He explained how his sick grandmother had just come home from the hospital. He was taking the day off to take care of her. He said he came to the quickie mart just to buy her her favorite brand of chewing tobacco as a surprise. Now that just melted my heart.

As I handed him the package of tobacco and charged him tax twice (since he wasn’t watching carefully), I told him he should be proud of himself for being such a wonderful grandson. He beamed and smiled at me. You could see he was proud. Some say teens are nothing but trouble, I submit to you this example of a selfless, caring boy. I’ll bet he’ll be a fine young doctor or pharmaceutical salesman one day. Would an infant or toddler ever think to buy their grandmothers chewing tobacco?

Did I mention that my sons are all teenagers now? They are, though each began life as an infant. I loved them as babies, but now that they’re coordinated, I can’t help but love them more.

Being a mother to a teenager is a joy. The word “mother” has its origins in the ancient Aztec word “mothos,” meaning “moth eater.” That really makes no sense. I’m a mother, and I’ve never eaten a moth. It’s no surprise the Aztecs all died.

To me, mother is just a synonym for “responsibility,” but as your kids grow up, you learn to delegate. My kids do all the cleaning, laundry, ironing, and yard work. I've reached the stage where I just smile and spout positive affirmations like, “Great work, kid,” and, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” But soon I won’t have to do that either. My oldest son is learning how to give false praise too.

Having sons who are almost men is great. They're protective of their mother. If they hear me scream, theyknow I’ve found a spider and will come running to kill it. They’ll also kill other bugs. A cricket hopped at me from a dark corner of the garage one night, and my oldest son came running and killed it with a broom.

Another dark night when my husband wasn’t home, I spotted an intruder lurking in our back yard. I told the kids, and they ran outside and killed him too. They're always helping.

My sons are easy to be around. They laugh. They tell funny stories. The oldest will drive to the grocery store to pick up ingredients I forgot. All I have to do is nag and threaten. My youngest son will fix things. Not well, but a little better than my husband, at least. My middle son explained the NFC and AFC to me. I didn't listen well, but I had no idea that KFC had so much competition.

Yes, having teenagers means you never have a free night unless someone gets sick. You’re always at someone’s event, you experience many emotions as they start dating, and you run through money like water (we don't because we spend our money on ourselves, but other parents do). But you love every second of it. When my kids leave home and this roller coaster ride ends, I know my husband and I will be a wreck for several minutes. But for now, we just love having our boys with us at home. Each stage in a child's life is a blessing, and we are lucky to still be at an early part of this journey.

If you don’t have a teenager of your own, I highly suggest that you go out and get one! -- Jackie

*All-American Rejects is a band.


Jackie's Note: The original quote is, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it." -- WC Fields

Hold on, you said teenagers are supposed to be able to control their bladders? My brothers have some work to do... --Jackie's Facebook Tutor, Durham, NC

The potty trained ones are better! ROTFL @ the WC Fields quote, too. -- Crazy DB

I truly believe you will miss the little buggers when they leave the nest. Probably for way more than a few minutes. I know I miss mine A LOT. I only get to wallyworld TWICE a week instead of daily and I can tell you I miss seeing all the interesting shoppers!! NOW who can I look up to and model myself after??
Love ya!
-- Trainer Jill
Jackie's comment: She's right. I don't know what I'll do when my sons have all left the house. I'll turn into a weird lady who has 50 cats and never washes her hair. Heck, I've got over 30 cats now and wash only on Wednesdays.

Let's see, you're from India, your son is Hans and the other is Roberto. This has got to be a disfunctional family after all. Can't wait to see what you do for Christmas. You do celebrate Christmas don't you or are you Indians of the Jewish religion? -- Anonymous
Jackie's response: I cannot answer, as I'm sure anything I say from this point will reveal my identity.