When my oldest first said these three words to me I really was speechless. Then I laughed. After I wiped the incredulous look off my face I just stared into her then 16 year-old eyes and said: “I have one but unfortunately for you, you’re a BIG part of it.” Now if you have teenagers and haven’t heard this yet—trust me—you will. And, if you are a parent of ANY sort you know one thing for sure: Your life hasn’t been YOURS since that first cry.
Some parents simply cannot handle the reality of that. It’s just too all-consuming. Casey Anthony comes to mind. But most of us adapted piece by piece, year by year as our offspring grew. Then one day we realized that even our simplest thoughts almost always include our children.
Teenagers aren’t cool with that. They so desperately want to be free and on their own that sometimes just looking at them sends them into a frenzy. This afternoon, while driving my youngest, I was warned, “Don’t talk to me!” So, I didn’t point out the cool clouds that were stretching across the purple sky ahead of the oncoming storm or the funny, looking dog being walked by the funnier looking woman. Just drove in silence.
I remember being her age. When my grandmother drove me places I even hunkered down in the seat if I saw anyone I knew. Just couldn’t wait to be ON MY OWN. It didn’t help that hers was always the slowest car on the road. The worst thing, of course, was running into a friend when she was with me. If it were a boy, I fairly died inside.
Somewhere along the line, though, I grew up and thanked her for all those rides. Had lots of adventures. Saw some of the world. Graduated from college. Had a career—then another career. Fell in love. Married. You know the rest.
I have 40 years of memories BEFORE my kids were born. Way I figure it, they have a LOT of catching up to do to REALLY get ‘A LIFE.’ Yup, (and it makes me smile just thinkin’ about it) I had a life. Still do. Only it isn’t just MINE anymore.