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Here’s the thing.  I have two teenage boys.  This makes me very easily pleased.

Let me explain.

Teenage boys have a knack for doing things that parents don’t particularly like.  They can be rude, non communicative, loud, clumsy and downright unpleasant to be around.

They can also be loving, kind, tender, well mannered and you can just absolutely love them to bits.   More often than not, though, they tend to be like the former.   This is why I’m easily pleased.

annie with boys 380x285 The toughest (and best) part of having teenage boys...

Annie with her boys

There are times I despair and worry that my boys are not going to turn out to be contributing members of society.  I worry that their seemingly constant need to non conform will see them do something that might ruin their future opportunities.    I worry that their laziness will render them permanently immobile.  I worry that their potty mouths will mean they won’t fit into mainstream society.  I worry that they will never give up smoking.  I worry that they drink to much.  I worry about drugs.   I worry that the fact they did not try hard at school will mean they won’t succeed in a career.   I worry that they will never find the thing that makes them feel alive.  I worry that they will never have enough money to buy a home.  I worry that I wasn’t tough enough on them.

I worry about a million different things.

Teenage boys take risks.  Teenage boys like to live on the edge.  Sometimes I think they deliberately hang over the edge just to see what happens.   Teenage boys scare me.

The other day, both my boys attended the Future Music Festival in Brisbane.  Apparently it is awesome and cannot be missed.  It is mandatory to start drinking with breakfast so you have enough time to be comfortably drunk by the time it starts at midday.  Apparently.  When I suggested this might be taking it a bit too far, I swear they looked at me like I just spoke Mandarin.   They then all meet at someone’s house and continue drinking until the maxi taxi’s arrive to take everyone to the venue, which happened to be Doomben Racecourse.  It was pouring rain, stinking hot and my babies were heading out with thousands of other teenagers to a wild festival of music, alcohol and party drugs.    As a mum of teenagers, this makes me worry.

I’ve been a mum of teenagers now for 7 years and you would think by now I’d have this whole gig sussed.  Unfortunately you never become totally comfortable.   I have learned that you don’t spend the whole time worrying.  You worry before they go and try to convince them not to go.  When they have bought the tickets you then spend the next few weeks talking about the dangers of party drugs and alcohol, whilst trying to sound cool and okay with it.  This generally doesn’t work because you never sound cool and you are not okay with it.

On the day, you fuss around and make sure they have sunscreen and water.  Well you don’t really make sure they have it, because there is no way they will take any notice of you.  At least saying the words makes you feel like you have discharged your motherly duties.    Once they leave, you stop thinking about them.  True.   You have to.   If I can give any mother of teenagers some advice this would be the holy grail of advice.   What will be will be.  Once they are gone you have no more control.    I like to take the approach that no news is good news.  If my phone doesn’t ring, this is a good sign.  If something was to happen to them, you would be the first to know.  I know this.  I’ve lived through many of these calls.   Remember.  Once they leave.  Stop worrying.

I will cut to the chase now and tell you why I’m easily pleased.   Around 11.00 pm I called Mr 18 to see how things were going.  He answered his phone, bright and non drunk sounding.  He said, I quote.  “Mum I’ve had a great time.  I didn’t drink much.  I still have money left over and I didn’t get into any trouble.  At all.”

And just like that … my teenage boys make me see that they are going to be okay.

Annie Pappalardo is a mum to two teenage boys, a wife, a writer of many things. Annie also moonlights here. You can follow Annie on twitter here and her blog here.

What were you like as a teenager?

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