Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth?!

We sat around the dinner table as we do every other night
We share stories about the day when there's not too much estrogen flowing,
Listen to The Boy tell a million stories and vie for attention while we listen to the girls
Laugh at the corny jokes Teen 1 tells, they're definitely getting better
I choose my nights carefully when to bring up the subjects of chores, bills, responsibility, and the dreaded future planning of their lives.
I know that when you're talking to a teenager, if they don't like the first 5 words of your sentence.
they can act like they're listening
but I can almost guarantee that the voice in their head
"Seriously, I'm 18, I'm so much smarter than my mom will ever be"
is speaking 10 times louder than the words coming out of your mouth

Somehow the subject of bills came up
so I whip out my handy dandy planner
and show them all of the bills at a glance,
I challenge them to review it and give us their idea of what a good plan for budgeting would be
we talk about college,
then I utter the words...

Let's talk about a 5 year plan

You need to have a plan, I explain to Teen 1.
And no, not the one that ended with you becoming a stripper or a single woman with 5,000 cats.

A real life plan.

I go on to tell her that one of my teachers in high school would not give me my last 10 credits to graduate until I wrote out a 5 and 10 year plan.  I found the plan years later and realized that I had actually accomplished quite a few things that I had written down.  I was 15 at the time and thought it was silly too. But I remember writing down that I wanted to buy a house, and by 19, I had actually acomplished that.

I felt like I should at least try to pass the idea and concept on to my own kids.

We chat some more and then everyone leaves the table.

A few minutes later, Teen 1 calls me out to the kitchen table and goes over her plan
It's scribbled on a piece of a paper
Not really much to it
Go to school
Move out
things that an 18 year old thinks her mom wants to hear.
She reads them out to me
Is that what you wanted? she asks in a sarcastic tone.
This isn't for me, I replied, this is for you.
It's your life, it's your plan, I continue. Then I turn around to walk away.
She crumbles up the paper and throws it in the trash
I bite my tongue.

The next day, she calls me after school as she likes to report the daily happenings.
Mom, she says, I told Chris(her boyfriend) to write out a 5 year plan.
Oh really, I ask curiously.
Yeah, I told him he needs to write out a plan for school, what he wants to do. she continues.
That's good, I say.

That's it. I say nothing else.
It takes everything in me not to say anything else.
I just smile.
It worked,
she listened,
it meant something.

That's good enough.


1 comment:

sunshine said...

I think you are a really good Mom and although it must be hard to deal with teenagers, to me you are on the right track!

Follow along through the fun and agony as we try to figure out how to raise two completely opposite teenagers- Teen 1, the fiesty yet inquisitive one, Teen 2 quiet but wise-cracking and our ball full of energy known as The Boy. It aint always pretty, but we’ll sure try to make the best of it!
These are the stories of our lives…