Friday, November 12, 2010

Teen / Inner Teen

I spent today trying to remember if I blogged about this last year. Maybe later I'll dig through and look.

In any case, it's worth revisiting.

Last year, I turned 40. My son turned 14, (although his body was convinced it was 16.)

And suddenly, we became kindred spirits.

My Oh-My-God-How-Can-I-Be-40-and-Who-Am-I-Really? midlife crisis and his catapult into full-blown puberty coincided.

And while part (most) of me had to stay Mom and set limits and keep track of him and do all the things a Good Mom has to do, another (little) part of me completely got him.

All the passion and recklessness and highs and lows... I got it.

I still get it.

I remember what it was like to be his age like it was last week. And being so tuned in to my own Inner Teen at 40 has helped me to enjoy a little bit of that same questioning of authority, flouting social norms, striking out on my own path and refusing to care about What Will People Think? a lot more than I did in my 30s.

Reveling in the intensity of adolescence / second adolescence, the Teen and I still connect in the space where the highs are higher and the lows are lower than in normal life. We both tend to love deeply and hurt deeply, and we recognize and understand - and respect - that in each other. Which is why, although much of the time he drives me crazy, overall it works with me and him.

The fact that he's as open and insightful as he is often took me by surprise during this last year. I'd be in a low and he would notice and know what it was about and could offer a suggestion or piece of wisdom - and it would actually make some sense. Or he'd play a song for me and we'd talk about it - or not - and we'd know how it applied to whatever either of us was feeling at the time. Even though I had to pretend to disapprove in some cases - just to remind him that I'm still Mom.

But deep down, my Inner Teen really enjoys spending time with my Teen. I like to let her out from time to time so she can hang out with him and be pals and have deep discussions about life and love and all kinds of things. Eventually, she has to leave so that I can be Mom again, but I think he knows that she's also there if he needs her, and she thinks he's a cool kid to chill with.

He's not the only one who questions who he is and what his place in the world is. And if I still don't have the answers at 41, how can I expect him to know at almost 15?

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