Contrary to popular opinion, raising older kids (i.e. can quantify their age(s) using more than two hands) does have its perks: I don't worry so much about having age-appropriate conversations.
Because, as most parents of older kids already know, I consider myself pretty gosh-darned lucky whenever my teens DO decide to talk to me, AT ALL.
Son: Madonna needs to retire.
My 15yo son and I were watching the Grammys, last night. Oh, and just so you know, watching an award-type or reality show with your teen(s) is NOT ONLY a good way to spark conversation(s), it can be quite an enlightening AND entertaining experience -- especially when teasing your son about the tween-crush he had on Katy Perry.
Me: You know, she's not that much older than me.
I meant Madonna, not Katy Perry, but you've probably already figured THAT ONE out, right?!? RIGHT?!? Riiiiiiiiiiight, moving on...
Son: No, she's like 60, but I don't think of you as THAT old.
The OTHER thing about raising teens: I have since learned to take a compliment, whenever I can get one, back-handed as it may be.
Aaaaaand, therein lies the rub.
Me (hitting up Google): She is almost 56.
On the one hand, I'm glad that ALL of my kids have admitted their having a hard time with my getting older, in the sense that they don't consider me old.
Son: Which makes her eligible to live in a retirement community.
On the other hand, as a blogger who's already been labeled as "past her parenting prime" 5 years ago, I sort of know how Madonna feels.
Me: Yes, but it doesn't mean she should stop expressing or even pursuing her passion for music.
So, why am I having such a hard time admitting my own age?!? Outloud?!? And everything?!?
Until, I visited with my friend Danielle (a.k.a. Extraordinary Mommy and one of the most confident women I know), reading Danielle's blog post on renewing, refreshing and reinventing herself and how celebrating 40-something birthdays has affected her, beyond the annoying physical transformation that occurs, damnit:
"I experience it in my heart and in my tolerance for other people. I feel it in my confidence and in my lack of desire to change me to please you. I feel it in how I am teaching my daughter to (hopefully) settle in to HER long before I settled in to me."
I still believe that "you're only as old as you feel" is relative and/or subjective (some days, I feel older than dirt), but I don't think I have ever felt MORE comfortable than I do, living in my own skin for nearly half a century, right at this very moment.
That being said, I'm not quite sure about tomorrow...let alone, 5 months from now...either.
Motherhood has changed my mind about a lot of things and, in my opinion, it is almost impossible to raise confident and kind-hearted teens, without shining a light on my own shortcomings and imperfections, as a parent and/or as a person.
Which is EXACTLY why I started this blog, in the first place: to help OTHER parents feel a little better about themselves AND I am pretty proud to say that mission statement has not changed in 10 years.
So, for the SECOND time in internet history (counting the comment I left on Danielle's post), I am MORE than ready to admit: this is what being able to quantify my age...using almost 10 hands...looks like AND I'm okay wit-it.
Son: Yes, but I don't think Dad would like you dressing like Madonna.
**one beat, two beats**
Me: Not as far as YOU know, not in public, anyway.
I just thought of another perk to raising older kids: being able to count the number of times you were able to have your teen(s) perform a **facepalm** using both hands, yeah it IS pretty awesome.
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