So I need a nickname for the gang of teenagers that hangs around my house. The little guys are the Street Urchins. The sixteen-year-olds? What do I call them?
It’s been a rather difficult week in Teenage World. Parenting teenagers definitely resembles a roller-coaster ride. You’re strapped in for the duration (7 years, give or take time for those rocky pre- and post-adolescent stages). There are the ups and downs, twists and turns, and occasional spins that turn you upside down.
In the past week, we have experienced
- curfew battles
- playing one parent off another
- plenty of eye-rolling, stomping up the stairs and slamming of the bedroom door
- The Silent Treatment
- and an ill-fated trip to the mall.
They’ve got nothing to do and way too much time to do nothing in. The bunch of them went job-hunting–together–after swimming at my house yesterday. I’m not sure that the best way to look for a job is to show up as a Six-Pack at the pizzeria or Edible Arrangements with wet hair, wearing short shorts and flip-flops. I asked the kids if any potential employer had wondered if he was expected to hire the whole crew. (They didn’t get why I thought that was funny, or even worth wondering about).
But we’ve also got a teenager who dissuades her younger brother from styling his hair like Eddie Munster, who “takes” me grocery shopping so she can do all the heavy lifting, pushing and loading that I can’t do, who takes 3 AM phone calls from friends in despair over a family member’s bad health and questioning the existence and benevolence of God. While I’m not thrilled over a 3 AM phone call, I am so gratified to know that when her friends have crises like that, they turn to her. That says a whole lot about my daughter, right there.
I’ve got to take the bad with the good here. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Ultimately, I think I’ve got a good kid, and maybe her friends are good kids too, but I don’t know them well enough to really determine that.
Today is the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, patron of teenagers. And they need his intercession and inspiration more than ever. So today, I prayed for that bunch of teenagers (and they still need a nickname). And I’m on my way to the supermarket, driven by my very own teenager, to stock the fridge with sodas so her friends will find something cold to drink when they show up later.