Okay - so I am a parent of three teenagers. My youngest is 16, my middle is 17 and my oldest is 19. Soon, the months will all collide and they will be 17, 18 and 19. All through their life, it was a challenge. They were all born so close together that managing all their individual needs was pretty tough. But, through it all, I felt like a competent parent that did a great job. As a single father, there were times when I felt like I needed to give them more of me than I had, but always seemed to find the energy.
As the years past, I always felt connected to each of them; watching their budding personalities and seeing them grow into some really wonderful people. This bliss all ended when they turned 16.5 years old. Suddenly, I became this uncool guy that had "unreasonable" rules. I was mean, yelled alot and expected that they act like people that had manners. I mean, asking them to put a dish in the dishwasher was like congress declaring war.
Today, I find myself wondering why I became a parent. I was actually very happy to have children until the aliens came down from afar and stole them from me. My Friends tell me that they will return soon, around age 20. I am starting to see the return on my oldest who is on the verge of 20. Our relationship is almost back to normal. I asked her where she went and her response was "it is a secret - no parent is allowed to know where we go because they always return us." She said, you went their too when you were 16.5 and returned home when you were 20 but they made you forget." Perhaps she is right - I do remember times when I thought my parents were pretty uncool and wanted to spend every waking minute with my awesome and cool friends. I guess I never realized how traumatic it was on my parents or those that cared about me.
Anyway - I have made a decision as I journey through this right of passage as a parent - I will be glad when it is done and I have my normal kids back. I know they will be adults then, but at least I can see what they have become. I wonder though - will I still like them? Wow - that's a thought. I do know that I am ready for the teenage years to end. I only hope when my kids are parents and they have teenagers - they get to experience everything they have helped me experience as a parent of teenagers. I guess mom was right - pay back is really a bitch.