Recently I found myself perplexed over the complicated challenges of parenting a strong-willed teenager while not seeing eye-to-eye with the other half of my team on how to do so. The details are not important, but my frustration, worry, hurt and near-despair was both deep and palpable. I am very much a choose-your-battle kind of person, but this particular battle felt necessary. And I was losing on all fronts. Continue reading
Well, I’m understanding Sharlee’s fabulous essay (the title essay in Segullah’s latest, Dance With Them) a little more now. I got the first “you’re standing too close” attitude from my teenager today. I had been braced for it—really, I swear!—but it still blindsided me somehow. He explained that though he enjoys my coming to his meets, I don’t need to stand right by him the whole time.
And two things smashed into me at once: first, memories of my own teenage years, the yearning to be separate from my parents and feeling so justified in that yearning—duh, it’s what’s supposed to be happening during these years; I’m trying to be a person here!—all mixed in with discovering my parents were sorta cool and feeling very close to them at times.
And second, the feeling, which probably peaked during my own junior high years, of being a misfit, a leper, the person people don’t want to be seen with, possibly contagious in my nerdiness. The feeling that kept me from associating much with my younger sister in school hallways lest I doom her to contamination.
A feeling of shame.
When I was in high school, I was matched up for ten minutes at a seminary mixer with a guy I had a crush on. It was a great success: I was vivacious and charming, and we had a great conversation. But later the (oh so sweet) boys in my ward told me that they had heard from this boy how disgusting his time with me had been because of the food in my braces.
The horrible, sickening shame, made worse because I had so confidently thought I was succeeding when all along I had been failing miserably—that’s what I felt when my son told me I had stood to close to him during that last meet. I had been so thrilled to be there with him, meeting his friends (and their parents), so happy to show him support. But . . . well, of course.
Stupid, stupid me! I had told myself I had a thick skin and sharp memory, that I wouldn’t take it personally when my son went through this very healthy phase. How stupid for it to hurt!
And so I begin Sharlee’s dance, the push and pull, the holding close but not too close. The showing up at the meet but cheering from a ways back. How I adore that boy—but more than that, I love his whole soul and what it can become. I will let my love and trust give me the strength to stand back a little more. I will be so mature about this.
But, darn it, while he’s at school today I’m going to go have me a good cry.
Today’s guest post is from my darling eighteen year-old son, Ben. He offered to write a post last Spring, and with the craziness of girls’ camp in my life this week, it seemed like the perfect time to cash in the favor. I’ve left it largely unedited; I love reading the fresh, raw opinions of my boy and his friends. –Michelle Lehnardt, Segullah Blog Co-Editor
My boxes aren’t exactly packed, but I’ve been sorting through my clothes, searching for a sturdy bike lock and asking my mom a little more often than usual, “How do you cook _______?”
In two weeks I’ll be at BYU, away from home for the first time in my life. As you can imagine, my mom has been pretty emotional about my departure. It probably wasn’t very nice of me, but I took her to Toy Story 3 with full knowledge that she’d cry through the whole movie (I should have brought more Kleenex).
But her influence in my life isn’t over. As much as my mom dislikes driving, I’m pretty sure she’ll make the trek to Provo pretty often to bring me cookies, walk through the art museum with me and, hopefully, restock my fridge.
And as I prepare to go on a mission this winter I’ll also be depending on my mom to navigate all that suit shopping for me (I really, really despise the mall). Continue reading
What you almost got from me today:
How we come to terms with our own not-enoughness.
What it feels like to be a Republican deep in the heart of Utah County fearlessly campaigning for a Democrat in the upcoming election.
Funny things I observe or overhear while serving in my new calling in the Primary.
How I don’t so much care about having it all, but I really wouldn’t mind being able to get it all done.
What does it mean that all my girlfriends have huge crushes on Angelina Jolie’s character in SALT? (I’m serious about this one. I almost feel compelled to write an entire essay exploring women’s not-so-secret fascinations with ridiculously strong and überheroic women and why they secretly want to be those women.)
How I was green before it was trendy or there was a color assigned to it.
What I wish I were doing this summer instead of working and not going on any vacations–
staycation (nope, still can’t bring myself to say it) or otherwise.
How it’s about time: Häagen-Dazs five
Johnna’s theory that if you live long enough, you will, in some way or another, become everything you hated when you were growing up.
How watching a bunch of neatly dressed teenagers quietly moving about in the dark at 5:40am this morning, leaving to go do baptisms for the dead, gives me hope for the future.
What I love and really don’t love about cub scouts. (Do not get me started.)
How now when tears well up unbidden I can’t quite tell if they are tears of sadness because I am really missing my second-born, who left just over a month ago to serve a mission in England–or tears of joy–in anticipation of a sweet reunion with my firstborn, who returns from serving in England three weeks from today! Continue reading
So, we’re moving. If you’d have told me a year ago I’d be saying such a thing, I would have looked at you like your head was on backwards. But a lot can happen in a year (e.g. reversals, epiphanies, startling answers to prayer, not to mention a good long stare into the eyes of middle age coupled with the realization that you’re precariously perched halfway up the creaky, swaying staircase that is the national economy) . . . and before you know it, you’re doing what you’d said you’d never do again. Continue reading