I completely skipped the year 2019 in my blog- it doesn’t make me feel good to even type this, but that’s the truth. It was a tough year ; I lacked motivation to write, despite the dozen people or so, that kept asking me “When will you write your next entry?”. To them I say: THANK YOU!
2019 was a year in which bringing up teenagers really kicked off and sunk in. I hit a wall several times and felt completely lost, clueless and frustrated not having answers to my many questions and doubts about…how to deal with anger, resentment and grudges. All – or most of it- originated by adolescent behavior.
More times than I can count I have wanted -more than anything- to call my Mom or Dad and vent with them, ask “How did you deal with us as teenagers?” .
After talking to friends and some of my Mom’s friends (in their 70’s) , I have learned that feeling sad, hurt and disappointed is normal when raising teenagers. “This will pass”, “Don’t take things personal”, many told me. But how does one not take personal when your kids are direct and honest about letting you know (at times) that they’d rather be alone than being with you?
For me at least, it is a painful mix of watching your kids grow up, getting so noticeably independent, not needing you nearly as much as they did when they were little; when they couldn’t open jars, open cabinets, cook a meal, or when they didn’t understand a word or two from their school work.
It’s part of life, I know. However that doesn’t offer any consolation to my feelings of being forgotten and almost set aside at times.
Time flies in such a way, that I can almost put together my memories of one of my kids saying “capeeteria” instead of Cafeteria, and today saying words I don’t even know the meaning of.
Or them asking “Can you tuck me in?” at night, while today, the kids go to bed usually after I do. Yes, sometimes, they tuck me in!
It is also a mix of being proud of them, and feeling them an inch more distant every day.
When things get tough or hurtful, when they fall into rude or disrespectful behavior, when calm and peace come (after counting to 10,000), I often wonder …Did I talk to my mom and Dad like this when I was a teenager? Did I make them feel unwanted? Was I ungrateful? Did I say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ for all they did and sacrificed for me?
At first, my answers were always No, definitely not! I never dared talk to them like that! But as the months have passed, a lot of memories have been triggered, and I do remember my Dad being resentful when I would get up in the morning super moody, just because, or being annoyed by his overly affectionate ways. He was always thirsty for hugs and kisses from his kids, I am pretty sure when I was in my teens I wasn’t at all affectionate with my parents.
I can only assume it hurt, especially my Mom, who couldn’t even get up and attack us with hugs (like I do my kids).
Little by little, I have realized that I was probably just as rude and cold with my parents more often than I care to remember when I went through this tough age.
Sometimes I feel guilt for those years, and I can only hope they never “took it personal”, knowing that behind all those moody mornings, deep down, I always adored them and admired them both. At least I was fortunate enough to have them alive for the first 11 years of my motherhood. And I can say with all certainty that I did call them (a lot) to express my gratitude and admiration,to vent, to ask for advice, and to say I LOVE YOU!
There are two things of 2019 that I will always remember with great happiness and some melancholy perhaps.
On July 2019, after giving thorough thought to my sister’s advice, both kids went to Summer camp for 4 weeks. I never asked them if they wanted to go, I just enrolled them and planned the trip to Sacramento to drop them off at a Tiny town in a secluded place in the mountains. I had checked reviews and had long phone conversations with the camp director. She gave me assurance about the safety of their kitchen and cooking methods -my son’s peanut allergies have always made me apprehensive about his whereabouts when I am not with him.
A few days before we left to drop them off, I started helping them each pack their things. When I explained they were not allowed to call, they didn’t like that at all (at one point they called it “a jail”). So I explained they were allowed to write and mail as many letters as they wanted, or fax them too. “What is a Fax?” my daughter asked. I just rolled my eyes and thought the answer too complicated and obsolete, was not worth our time. “Just mail it”- I said.
I had to explain how and where to write the mailing address and returning address on the envelope- after I saw that one of them wrote the mailing address on the back of the envelope…
The stopped at Sacramento for a night, to learn a bit about it’s history, along with a tour of the Capitol Building.
The four of us drove up to Greenville, CA to CopperCreek Camp. My stomach felt knotted and my throat tight when it was time to say goodbye to the kids. They were both nervous and sad but the counselors there did an amazing job at staying close to them , keeping them distracted and busy and not making a huge deal out of our departure.
Upon our return home, the house felt so big and empty, it made me quite sad. My small dog Cinder really became my companion that month. We were not allowed to call the kids (or them us) unless there was an emergency. But we got to see plenty of action packed photos they posted daily for family and friends to see. We received probably half a dozen letters from the kids the first 2 weeks, begging us to come get them: they were lonely, bored and not getting along great with other kids. The photos we saw told another story, but the drama in their letters was almost troubling. Then I remembered how absolutely miserable I was at camp my first time when I was only 12.
So, we waited for another week to pass. By the 3rd week, they were singing another tune in their letters, and by the 4th week they were just as sad to leave as they were excited to come home.
It was a wonderful experience for both of them. They flew back together – unaccompanied for the 1st time- and everything went just fine. There were no cell phones allowed during camp -of course- so they really were disconnected from everyone.
While they were gone, my husband and I took a weekend trip to Mammoth Lakes, CA. My first time ever. Even though it is famously known as a Ski Resort, it has a lot to offer during the summer as well.
Christmas was also very memorable. Both my sister and I with our families, flew down to Queretaro, Mexico, to spend Christmas and New Years’ with our brother and his family. It was a great chance for the kids and my husband to see a different part of Mexico they had never been to: Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City.
The plazas downtown, the townspeople enjoying the holiday, very pleasant weather, delicious food. We even went to Teotihuacan, to see the pyramids. The kids liked it quite a bit.
We ended the year with a small party at my brother’s home, with some friends and delicious food, not having the slightest idea what 2020 had in store for us…