Thursday, June 21, 2007

Letter To My Future Teenager

Twenty months ago, when I found out I was pregnant with Jack, I signed up for one of those online services that tracks your pregnancy and gives you milestones to chart via e-mail updates. You know, "Week 10 of your pregnancy. What to expect. Jen, you're likely feeling queasy and here are some tips to get you through to the next trimester." You get the point. I still get e-mail updates, only now they're weekly charting of where Jack is and what he "should" be doing right about now. Let me tell you, as a boy and the youngest of four, he's not constructing the double helix out of his Duplo blocks.Today I read my "eleventh month update" and I just had to share.Jen, let's project into the future this week. What kind of teenager do you think your baby will be? What kind of parent do you want to be to your teen? Take the time to write your thoughts today. If you think this first year has flown by, you'll be surprised to find how much faster the next 12 years will pass! Make a journal entry now before this moment is lost. I had to smile as I read through this, because I can see all the new mommies grabbing their baby books and sweetly penning their thoughts on their lovely pink-cheeked babies. I know this because I did this with my first two babies. Oh, the letters I wrote. Oh, the envisioning of shared laughter and hair brushing and shopping and "Thanks, mom! You didn't need to buy me that sweater! And while we're at it, mommy? I want to thank you for giving up your boobs, waist, ass, brain, sex-life, career, and respect for me. You're the greatest, and when I graduate Summa Cum Laude from Vanderbilt, you will be the one person I thank."I thought that by giving my kids everything I didn't have, or more of what I did have that was good, and by spoiling the crap out of them, I would not only feel great about myself, but my kids' cups would also runneth over and the Waltons would have nothing on us. Except maybe a few extra kids. It's only taken me 12 years, but I think I can say that isn't the way to go.So how do I envision Jack as a teenager? In all honesty, I see a lot of door-slamming, huffing of the chest and deep sighs to accompany eye-rolling severe enough to warrant a CAT scan to rule out a Grand Mal seizure. I see times where I want to hold him forever because I just got a glimpse of the amazing adult he will become, and other, more frequent times, where I wonder if I can just place him in a cardboard box marked "Free to Good Home." I see an enormous food bill, not to mention the clothing, entertainment, and activities expenses. I see me driving him to all of his enriching activities to keep him out of trouble and yet screaming at him in the car that he is sucking the life out of me and would he just shut up already he is not getting a damn cell phone. Dealing with me, angry and feeling unappreciated, is all the trouble you need.So as much as I appreciate the updates from this service, they are clearly written for and by new moms. You want an update on what to expect that doesn't look like a Monistat commercial, complete with soft focus fields of flowers and scampering deer? Stay over here. Or not. I'm too busy pulling another guilt trip on my preteens to notice.

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