I pulled up to a stop sign minutes from my house and saw two young teenagers holding hands and talking intimately. They were wearing backpacks and seemed to be saying goodbye. I imagine that they just got off the school bus together. I watched the girl turn coyly from the boy as he brushed the hair from her face.
As I drove off (because I didn’t want to seem like some weirdo stalker), I was taken back to my own teenaged years. I remember all too well what that potential for young love felt like. It was all-encompassing and held my every free thought. Boys were the only thing my girlfriends and I seemed to talk about. We could sit around for hours obsessing about who was cute, who we liked, who liked us, who was “hooking up,” who was dating, who we wanted to date, etc. I read romance novels and watched romantic comedies like I was studying for a quiz on how to be in love. I wanted to be Baby from Dirty Dancing one minute and Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman the next (not quite the best role models for girls).
The pressure to partner up was incredible. For me, this was a major distraction in school. I wasn’t a bad student, but my priorities definitely weren’t straight. School for me was 75% social scene/extracurricular activities and 25% academic learning.
Now that I am an adult with a son about to head into high school, I constantly worry about what it will be like for him and all my children. I look at my son’s passion for sports and his good grades and secretly hope he will continue to keep his focus away from dating and all the other crap that comes with young love and raging hormones.
I don’t want him to rush into anything. Love and dating will come. It will be amazing, but being young and free is also amazing. I want him to carve out his own path and discover his passions without clouded judgement. I want to protect him from heartbreak and teenaged fickleness. I want him to think of only himself and his dreams for as long as possible.
High school should be a carefree time in the lives of our children. A time for self-discovery and coming into your own. But this is not reality. Teenagers have an incredible amount of pressure on them to fit in, to get good grades, get into a good college, and make decisions about who and what they want to be when they “grow up.” It’s not fair really. Sometimes I feel like we are asking too much of these kids at a time when they are ruled by their hormones. At a time when what Mommy says has very little impact. At a time when everything is shiny and new and exciting and seems like it will last forever.
I want to protect my son and guide him through every stage. I want to whisper in his ear as he is faced with decision after decision. I want to carry the burden for him and convince him that there are some things that don’t really matter, but others that actually do matter. That there is more beyond today.
I know motherhood is about getting our kids to a point of independence and allowing our children to learn from their mistakes, but it’s so hard when you are constantly gripped with worry and fear. The worrying never goes away. Instead the worry just transforms with each stage. My earliest worries included my son getting kidnapped from his crib while I showered. Now I worry about him making poor decisions in the name of some girl or just forgetting his own passions and going down a road of regret and pain.
This is yet another reminder of all the ways I tortured my own mother. Sometimes I wonder how she or any parent ever gets through it and then I remember the answer. One tiny step at a time… oh and lots of praying, hoping, talking, freaking out, and then breathing.
What are your biggest parental worries? Were you ruled by your hormones as a teenager? Please leave a comment or join me on the Tiny Steps Mommy Facebook page.
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