This shouldn’t be so hard

Midlife Sentence | This Shouldn't Be So Hard

Late last week, as we pulled up to an event center at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, I flashed back to the moment we arrived at a hospital more than seventeen years ago. I felt the same kind of excitement and fear now as I did back then, minus the Lamaze breathing.

“I have no idea what’s about to happen.” I told Mike.

We’d been looking forward to seeing our son, but for most of the past six weeks, knowing he was safe and also not under our roof, what I’d been feeling mostly was relief. After a difficult year and excruciating last three months, we’d needed the respite.

That’s a hard feeling to have about your child.

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Speaking of pot …

pot_smoker copySo, as I mentioned, last week Jack asked his dad and I for our thoughts about pot.

Being the seat-of-our-pants kind of parents we are, it hadn’t occurred to either of us to coordinate what we were going to say when this subject inevitably arose. That was stupid. Both of us at Jack’s age were doing things that could have had consequences. We knew parenting teens could get bumpy.

We have had conversations about how little we looked forward to dealing with teenage shenanigans. These conversations weren’t as productive as they should have been. They tended to favor nostalgia over strategy, and end with prayers of gratitude that no one could post selfies on social media when we were teens.

Other than that we’ve been living in happy-sparkly-unicorn land where gumdrops grow on trees and don’t cause cavities, and we’ll use a magic wand to deal with teenagers when the time comes.

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Somebody better be thanking me from a podium one day for all this

“Mom, I think the X-Box is taking over my life.”

The remarkable thing about our teen’s tearful admission was not its frankness, nor the way it made me wonder whether it was intended to be manipulative. The remarkable thing was that it compelled me to defend the game console, to build a case for giving it another chance.

After recounting the injustices each kid had suffered at the hands of the other, both were in tears. They were now mostly upset because I had threatened to throw away the object in question, which I really didn’t want to do. The object in question was pricey.

We’ve foisted screen addiction on them. We’ve plugged our kids into a matrix of daily thought control, where the influencers range from fast food commercials to internet predators. Where the products are obesity, diabetes, “nature deficiency disorder,” and an obstruction of the body’s ability to produce melatonin for a decent night’s sleep.

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