Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In the middle now

I think I might be in the middle now.

I just read a book I liked.  Called Sheepish by Catherine Friend.  A woman and her partner decide to farm.  Make funny, entertaining,  heartbreaking mistakes in the process of changing everything in their lives at once.   Learn new things.   Cultivate a love of hard work, simplicity, gratitude.  Adjust to a new life, separately and in relationship together.

The author also talks about finding herself in a new stage of life.  Describes a dis-ease she feels, a lack of focus, a heightened emotionality.
She hypothesizes it comes from being in the middle of her life.  I feel that too, lately.
Also, I've literally lost some ability to focus, and must wear reading glasses now.
I liked my near vision.

Our children are more independent now, which I  do love.
There are some new challenges brought on by adolescence.
We've reached out to some of you about these struggles.
You've given helpful advice:    Don't over- react.  Keep talking about stuff.  Listen.  Love.
Also, hugs are good for the soul.  And to know if cigarettes or alcohol are on board.

Eli is turning 15 this month.  It terrifies me that he might someday drive a car.  He makes interesting (bad) choices sometimes, and gets injured.  A lot.  I've read those fascinating studies about the teenage brain.  I know that behavior is normal.  It does help to know that.

But often I feel my two important roles as parent working against each other.
First,  I must love my child so well that he feels:  confident/ built up/ accepted no matter what.
Second, I must help prepare/ teach my child to function independently in the world.  This involves teaching skills, but also  correcting/ nagging.  (Teenagers are terrible housemates!)
I find it hard to do the two things at once.  

My kid is not a huge sharer, or talker about his day.  I get my information in a diffuse way, by being around mostly, by sidling up, in brief conversations that happens around a book we've both read, or bad cable TV we watch in a hotel.

We were in New York this week at Ben and Katie's wedding.  It was a sweet time, with a lot of the family together in the same place.  Katie's family is loving and welcoming, and as excited about Ben as we are about Katie.  It's good to see that Ben has that around him.

One of my favorite things about the weekend, was discovering that our kid loves to dance.
Seeing Eli enthusiastically shaking his booty on the dance floor was deeply, surprisingly reassuring.
I have been worrying.  And seeing him surrounded by folks who love and know him, looking so handsome and tall in a tuxedo, LOVING doing something, not concerned with looking silly, sweating and confident in his body, creating moves in the moment, engaging his family…. It was good for me.