Rolling my eyes, trying to figure out these kids. Reminiscing about the sweet babies they once were (and forgetting about the sleepless nights.) How many of the attitudes and arguments I experience with them are a result of Lyme and how much are adolescence? Sometimes I wish I had more children, younger children, so I could still enjoy the wholesome energy and innocence of pre-pubescence. But if I had more kids, they'd probably also have Lyme and also be jaded by the older ones. So maybe I should just be grateful for what I have. My two teenagers and a dog.
From 1-12, here are the teenage conditions over which I ponder:
1. When is their attitude a flare and when is it puberty? So much angst over being asked to wash a dish. To pick up hair from the sink. To complete a report on time. Are most teenagers like this? Finding the need to push back on "normal" parental requests? Is this adolescent rebellion?
2. When they don't clean their rooms, when they leave dirty dishes under their beds, when they hoard towels and food in their bedrooms, is this "normal"? I've taken pictures of my daughter's room and now my son's is even worse. OMG--his room! And then he has the nerve to complain about not having clean laundry. Do you know how many times I've found clean, rolled-up socks in the dirty laundry basket? Yes, I still do my son's laundry. It's too much for him to handle. But he MUST carry his laundry to the basement and he's been refusing to do that until the last minute. "Mom! I need these pants! In ten minutes!"
3. Sudden burst of energy when it comes to hanging around with friends does not quite last when it comes to helping around the house. Ok. I get this. Adrenaline keeps me going, too. I need so to be with my friends, to escape our house of stress. When I return home, I'm tired. As a parent and an adult, there are things I must do at home. But my house is not as clean as it once was and I let a ton go. I'm just happy if my kids do have energy to play with friends. My son is working hard at school and often spends the whole weekend resting.
4. As much as we try to have sit-down dinners, everyone wants to eat on their own. Even me. Because I'm often too tired to eat a meal after working all day. But my kids don't want to be with everyone else. And my son wants to avoid all conflicts which increase his stress. Kid + Kid = conflict 70% of the time. That's teen math for you.
5. They both still love and need our dog. They would sleep with the dog nightly if they could but we got tired of the arguments and trade-off agreements. Plus, who knows if the dog is harboring a tick?
6. They both have moments when they're super sweet. Friends tell us we have great kids. They certainly know how to hold their own with adults. My son can be very cuddly which means he will always be this way, forever and ever. My daughter is extremely thoughtful and giving. When she's not taking my clothes or make-up.
7. Neither wants to disappoint us. This is a good thing. I think it's this that resulted in my son apologizing to my daughter this morning and changing the course of what could have been a difficult day.
8. Somehow, there's some homework that does not get done. And very little energy to do it once they get home. My daughter goes straight to her bedroom and lies down for a little while. A little while turns into a long while. She's so tired. Then she thinks she did all her work.
9. They are totally different from other kids who have Lyme, yet they share many characteristics. Needing time for recuperation is important for both my kids. My son has had joint pain, my daughter has had air hunger. There are so many symptoms and between both kids, they cover many of them yet they're both so different from one another in the way in which they handle them.
10. Suddenly, both of my kids like epsom salt baths. It's very interesting, as I'm not much of a bath person myself although I've probably given them a thousand baths. Now they're doing it all themselves! Reminder: must buy stock in epsom salts. Someday. They also share a love for music, bands and jamming with each other (son on electric bass, daughter on drums) when they're actually getting along.
11. Normal kids might experiment with alcohol and drugs. My son told me he wants to have a beer once in a while at a party (not that he's going to parties, although he seems to be invited frequently.) He's open with me about it. But he's on medicine. And he's not even yet 16. This is such a dilemma. I was such a G-rated kid but my kids are not aiming for that rating.
12. Both kids used to participate in team sports. They were active athletes. That's left the building because of Lyme. When my son suddenly felt well a month ago and bicycled about 70 miles in 2 days with a friend, he had a bit of a crash and had to stay home from school.
So, I'm taking my kids to a rock concert in a month for their birthdays. One of them is worrying about getting along. The other is worrying that the seats are too high. I'm worrying that I won't have any energy left after a class trip that happens to be planned for the same day (which will affect my own Lyme.) But we're all excited--and that's normal teenage stuff! Plus they're excited to go with ME! Their mom! (Who is paying.) So having teenagers is kinda cool, because they're like mini-adults and so easy to have conversations with. But the chronic illness thing definitely throws a dent in the normalcy of everyday life, and in our hopes and expectations.
Today was a snow day. Several times, I practiced mindfulness and took a moment to breathe and picture myself in the middle of a lake on a warm autumn day, surrounded by golden leaved trees. I think healthy teens can do that to a parent also.