Friday, December 31, 2010


"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." - Mark Twain one said that parenting would be easy. Actually no one said anything much about parenting. What I heard from most folks was how having kids would fill my life with boundless joy. Somewhere in all the mix of that conversation, no one spent much time conversing on the topic of parenting itself. Surely, when I was pregnant and joyfully ingnorant about what lay ahead did anyone say, "Good luck, sister. Parenting is hard and at times you will question the very foundation upon which YOU have built your entire life."

I write this morning smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. My children are nestled in bed...well that's not totally is nestled underneath a blanket on a couch in the living room, cell phone hanging by its cord half way off the couch next to her and the other is nestled in the guest bedroom of his best buddy's house, my last contact with him was at 1:20 a.m. this morning.

I am the mother to two teenagers. That alone makes those who have been through it shake their heads and then respectfully offer up the secret handshake as former members to the "parent-to-teen" fraternity. Before I entered the land of teendom I used to say things like, " can't be that challenging. I have an open relationship with my kids. They know they can trust me to be a resource for them when they are troubled" or how 'bout this little ditty. "I actually look forward to the challenges of the teen years. It is through those challenges that we will find strength. It is through those challenges that the hard edges of our exteriors are worn down to reveal the shining light from within." (Is this where the sappy music plays and the playful giggles of children dances upon the air?)

Yep...all the glory of language and the mantra of collaborative parent-child parenting worked so least while things were easy and my kids were still...well...little kids.

But I've got news for you. It's not easy. The first line in one of my favorite books of all time "The Road Less Traveled" states that "Life is difficult."

Ironically, what I'm discovering, though, isn't that life is difficult, but that accepting that life is difficult is the difficult part (Does that make sense? Please tell me that makes sense!)...especially when you are a teenager and you haven't lived long enough to see that "this too shall pass" and that everything really is gonna be okay. As the mother to teenagers nothing is harder for ME than seeing my children grapple with the difficult parts of THEIR lives and their resistance to accept that it is difficult and is just gonna be really hard at times. Maybe its about time I accept it, too.

I'm not sure why I find myself writing about this, this morning. I know that whenever I post a status on my Facebook page such as "Hang in there" or "This too shall pass" or "Life is hard--accept it and then the hard isn't something to dread," I get literally dozens of "thanks you's" from people who need to hear it too.

And so this morning, I'm not sure who I'm writing to or for. Maybe it's you or maybe it's me. Or maybe my teenage children or yours...but the fact remains. Life is hard and can feel SO hard that we get frustrated, impatient and at times downright shaking-in-our-boots fearful; but I know, having lived to the ripe ole' age of 50,that interlaced somewhere in all that hard, icky stuff really does lie a soft chewy middle--something my teens and I will eventually sink our teeth into--something that really will push us to a deeper center and a place of greater joy and richer, more meaningful connections--something that will undoubtedly taste so good and be so sweet, if we just stick it out.

So...the secret is out. Parenting is hard. So is life. Secret handshake revealed.

Gratitude comes in the strangest of places and at the most interesting times.


  1. THanks for the "heads up" regarding raising teenagers. I have 2 elementary aged girls and I get "warned" often from parents of teenagers. I started a GOTR team at our school (coaching it with a girlfriend) and I'm hoping we can make life more manageable for my girls with your valuable lessons!

    Erica (HUGE GOTR FAN)

  2. Yes. Yes. Yes! Thank you, Molly. I think I was meant to try to get hold of you today. :-)

    Lynn (GOTR-North Country 2004-2006)