Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Strange Girls and Random Laundry - Life With Teenage Boys
How did it get in here? A cat who I have never laid eyes on found its way into my house and felt so comfortable doing so that he strolled into my bedroom at five o'clock in the morning and parked himself next to my head? I'm sure it has something to do with the five teenage boys currently camped out in my backyard. It's just one of those odd occurrences that is becoming all the more typical around here. It's just part of life with teenage boys.
As a new mother, I had the vague feeling that my life was no longer in my control. Staring at those cute little faces, knowing that my entire sanity resided with them being relatively well-behaved and of course, healthy and whole. I thought I had lost control of my life when they would shriek and wail and I would scamper to soothe and console, or I would rush around to get what I knew they wanted. I thought I lost control when they would get into my fingernail polish and decorate the coffee table with it - or when the foul odor that was plaguing my kitchen turned out to be moldy broccoli that they had cleverly hidden in the recess beside the refrigerator knowing that I never looked there.
When my kids were younger, I still had a great deal of control. The messes were, to me, fairly predictable. Permanent marker on the refrigerator, chocolate syrup splattered on the wall, what parent doesn't have to deal with those things? Strange cats in my bed, kneading the back of my head at 5am is just one of the many unpredictable events that comes with the territory of living with teenagers.
Living with teenagers is having a house that is always wrecked. I thought I had a hard time keeping it clean when they were toddlers. I've learned that once they hit a certain age, they're like Gizmo. Get them wet and the little suckers multiply. That's why I have a hoard of them asleep in my backyard as we speak. I will be sitting here minding my own business and suddenly there are all of these people milling around my house. This happens frequently. And that's not the only thing that inexplicably multiplies around here either. I don't know what to do with half of our laundry, because it's not ours! I am constantly asking, "whose shirt is this? Where did it come from? What am I supposed to do with it?" only to look up and everybody shrugs.
And the girls? Yeeeeeeahhh. It's not uncommon for me to walk into my livingroom and see some girl I have never met sitting on my sofa who is completely nonplussed by my arrival and doesn't even look up to see that my eyebrows have disappeared into my hairline. Why would she notice me? I am of no consequence. This isn't my house after all, it is my sons house and to her I just live here. I am not offended, I remember thinking along those lines when I was their age.
Living with teenagers (at least the boy variety) means my house is not my own anymore. Not only is it always dirty, but it's always full of people - some I know and others I don't. They just show up here. I could turn them away, I suppose, but then my kids would go hang out at their houses and given the propensity for teenagers to get into trouble, I'd rather they be here in my safe, gun-free, drug-free, alcohol-free environment. At least I can do a head count on the girls and when one is no longer in sight, I can ask the others where she went. Girls, after all, are much easier to spot than the boys. It's funny, because they all know I'm watching and it doesn't bother them at all (yet). They have no desire to go to another household where they can get more privacy, they like it here where they feel welcome. And eat all of my chocolate cake.
I'm in a different game now than I was when my kids were in elementary school, that's one of the few things I can say with certainty. Living with teenagers is wild, unpredictable, sometimes hilarious and sometimes infuriating, and I've only just begun. I have yet to face the scenario of trips out of town and wild parties, my oldest only starts high school in a couple short months. If it's like this already, what the heck am I going to find in my bed two years from now? Don't answer that, I'm afraid I already have an idea. There are some things I can still predict after all, even if it's becoming less and less everyday.
Photo Rights: Moodboard