I went into this 'parenting teens' thing knowing that I would not have control over their everyday lives anymore. I also knew that they would have experiences I may not approve of, that I would never know happened. My main goal and wish for these years was that they survive, physically and emotionally.
I was a teen once. But for clarification, I have to admit I was a pretty prude teen. Very involved in a church youth group. Went on a summer long mission trip to Haiti. Attended very few parties.
But this is why I was nervous about parenting a teen. Even *I* did a few things in my teens that my parents would not have approved of. So I am not naive enough to think, to a certain extent, my older kids have private lives I dont know about.
So I watch their behavoir when they are home, watching for clues that all is not right. I check out their status when they return home from parties, discreetly smelling their clothes and breath for any giveaway signs. I have called them when they are at parties and checked on their status. (not often, just enough to let them know it's possible) So far I have had no real evidence that they are up to anything fishy.
So give me this much as I share the following two stories - I know this is not proof that my kids will never, ever get in some serious trouble. It's not proof that anything could not go seriously wrong even before I finish this posting. (hey, the day is young) But as a mom, these two stories make me feel just a smidgen better about these two kids I love so much.
Story #1 - Happened a few months ago. Sixteen year old son called in the middle of a big teen party to work out a ride home from dad. After they made their arrangements I took the phone for just a few minutes. I could hear evidence of 'partying' in the background. I said, "Just be careful, Michael. Make good life choices..."
He laughed and instantly responded, "I know mom. It's hard sometimes. There is this huge bowl of cotton candy here and I'm making myself stay away from it!"
Cotton Candy. He thought I meant eating too many sweets. God bless him.
Story #2 = Newly 18 year old daughter just started a job at a Hollywood Video store. Making conversation, I asked her if she ever has to card anyone when they rent movies. She looked confused. I said, "...you know, people who rent things that are over an R rating.."
Again, confusion. Her answer, "Mom...there is no such thing as a movie that is rated more than an R! That's the worst rating there is!"
Again, God bless her. I felt obligated to briefly tell her that there are indeed movies rated worse than R, so she would at least be educated. Her puckered face and "Ewwww!" reaction made me feel even better.
I will breathe easy for now. But don't think I've let my guard down. I'm still on patrol. Sniffing jackets and checking cell phones until the last teen leaves my jurisdiction.
God, give me strength.