Things were going so well. One kid rockin’ it as a homeschooler, the other rolling along in middle school (BRAG ALERT: honor roll every quarter so far, and it is within his grasp to get straight As this quarter). I wrote a love letter to giftedness, I acknowledged that G2e teens/tweens are a challenge but still awesome as hell, I thought I knew what I was doing and had a handle on our lives.
Commence hysterical laughing now. No, really, please go ahead. You have my full permission to engage in a dollop of schadenfreude. I’ll even join in.
I’m going to share a little secret with you. Please don’t spread this around, it’ll totes ruin my rep.
OH MY GOD I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA WHAT I AM DOING. At all. Ever. I barely know how to style my hair, much less guide my G2e sons into adulthood. (Note: My headshot is woefully out of date. I am no longer sporting the cute little pixie cut, but long waves to my shoulders. The plan is to go even longer and snag some highlights this summer. Because, by god, I may need to lose weight but gold and red highlights don’t care.)
There was no one event that smacked me upside the head and declared, “YO! You be an idjit, woman!!” Just a series of small, intimate panic attacks on my part as 1) I realized that Andy is finishing his first year of high school and I haven’t even started a portfolio or transcript for him, 2) Jack wants to be homeschooled and THAT is just not happening, 3) society is in a woven receptacle heading south and it’s getting warmer and warmer, and 4) I’d really like to no longer be responsible for anything, much less my sons’ education and general moral fiber. I thought I had the flaming batons under control, when in reality they were torching everything around me while I dealt with the spinning plates and glass balls. The temptation to stand in the middle of my life and scream STOP while I physically throw my arms into the air to attempt to halt the progression of time and responsibilities is nearly overwhelming. Unfortunately, it would accomplish nothing other than a scratchy throat and pitying looks from the people around me.
These two boys of mine, that I still see as mah baybees, will be out in the world in the next 3-8 years. I’ve been blogging about them for a decade, so that shortened timeline hits me hard in the feels. And the worry, oh my god the worry. It’s not even that they are two out of the box kids in a world that builds boxes, it’s that the world right now is terrifying. Regardless of your political leanings (and if you can’t tell, I lean so far to the left that sometimes things are at a 90 degree angle) or country of citizenship, you gotta admit that the world today is far more frightening than it was in our youth, and we lived through the Cold War. Think about that. The world today is more frightening than the specter of nuclear war.
How do we prepare our out of the box, creative, march to the beat of their own drummer G2e kids for a world that is changing daily? For a world that doesn’t want to acknowledge or accept them unless they provide high value? For a world that is so screwed up that even adults are left speechless and shaking their heads? My boys are coming of age in a time of great uncertainty, and I don’t know how to guide them to adulthood. I thought I did but I find myself paralyzed by the enormity of the task. Paralysis By Analysis. A decade ago I thought potty training was going to do me in, and truthfully it nearly did, but this is a job for SuperMom and she is long gone. She took one look at the job description, laughed, flipped me off, and flew off into the night, never to appear again. I heard a rumor that she was sighted on a small tropical island, gently swaying in a hammock and sipping on an umbrella drink. Smart woman. Lucky bitch.
Parenting is a hard, often thankless job, and parenting outliers even more so. We have to fight battles others won’t acknowledge, against adversaries others don’t even know exist, all on top of the usual parenting battles which, let’s be honest, are enhanced because of the aforementioned outlier-ness. All this in a world, in a society, that is vastly different and less stable than the one in which we were raised. The best we can do, the best I can do, is to keep it real about the challenges and ignore the outside world as best I can. Teach the Golden Rule (or, in our house, Wheaton’s Law). Teach my boys how to think. They’re already pretty good at questioning authority and persistence, so teach them to put that persistence and questioning to good use and investigate all sides of an issue. Teach them to leave everything better than they found it. Teach them that not replacing the toilet paper roll is going to get them in trouble some day.
I know that kinda sounds like I know what I’m doing but damn it doesn’t feel that way. I just hope SuperMom is keeping a hammock open for me because one of these days I may run off and join her. I’m in the mood for some umbrella drinks; I hear they really help with throats scratchy from screaming at life.
Today’s post is part of GHF’s May blog hop, on preparing G2e teens and tweens for their futures. Go check out some of the other writers; maybe they have more of a clue than I.