49 vs. 17, perimenopause vs. teenage testosterone.

It’s been a “Ben” kind of morning. I haven’t been up more than an hour and a half, maybe, and already, I feel in need of prayers for patience and coffee for endurance. I have two teenage sons both are bright, witty and joyfully challenging but right now, I swear the eldest is trying to fit more “first time for everything” experiences in these last remaining 40+ days of high school. The one final push to my pull, a battle of wills. The youngest clearly understands the principles of survival. He quietly falls into the background watching and documenting for himself, Mama’s hot buttons.

Both of my boys are outstanding young men, but there are those times when they are hormonal driven teenagers battling against Mama’s perimenopause. This is not a good mix for the eldest who at times displays “my mini me” in temperament. Thank heavens, his disposition is diluted with his Dad’s personality as well because that little bit is what saves him on some days. 

Basically, I’m saying, I can’t stand myself as a 17-year-old boy. Never having been a boy, I just don’t get him sometimes and honestly, his Dad was a boy but firmly remains clueless. I am lost and aggravated. It’s convenient, how the one guy in my household with prior experience in all things boy, claims senility. Or maybe, my husband’s practicing survival instincts and playing dead, because he’s experienced a “hell hath no fury like a scorned woman”. Yes, scorned by the teenager because he taunts me with heaping tons of disdainful mockery and eye rolling and Daddy’s no fool. Disrespect is my hot button. Incendiary, to be accurate.

There’s no reasoning with me when I am past the point of understanding teenage boys. Two of the men in my life retreat to safe distances but that 17 years old, young man, keeps coming…must have the last word. Push, push, push and the volcano erupts into a fiery passion of world’s colliding.  He thinks he’s entitled to express his thoughts, whether or not, I am ready.

I’m the immovable mountain, lava’s going to flow and he’s going to get burned.  Oh, the naive wonder of youth.

I consciously understand, Ben and I are like tectonic plates shifting and moving. He’s trying fit into his vision of the world. I’m trying to soften some of those rough shifts, as so, he doesn’t encounter those volcanic reactions from the outside world because he is seismically moody, while still an arrogant male teenager. Family is the training ground readying you for life. We practice boundaries, push and pulls, we teach consequences, while the world takes no excuses and second chances are rarely given.

He is a very successful student, very thoughtful to the world at large, he never displays less than ideal traits. Great kid all around and I’m proud to call him mine. Although, there are times, I think my own Mother cursed me harshly with the “I hope you get a child just like you are now, just a thousand times worse!” Sigh.  I have called my Mum begging her to rescind the ancient curse of Motherhood  and release me from the pain!   She cackled and  chuckled, saying, “You’ll survive.” Notice, she didn’t rescind the curse. Mean Mother, just mean. So, onward I arm myself with ancient remedies that seemingly pays dividends in the future with an endless supply of joy to the cursing parent in their later years. Who said, revenge isn’t sweet? Pfft. Not my Mother, she’s laughing all the way, at my expense.

I know I created the boy, his strong will is all mine but nevertheless, his personality growth spurts are painful. Swear to the high heavens, he saves it for me as a test. As like a “crash dummy” victim, in the aftermath, measuring the results. I know I said, family is the training ground for teenagers. The safety net, if you will, for a soft place to land while free-falling through those testosterone driven crash tests. BUT when does the ride end? When does the warning light switch on inside this boy’s head? No longer, flickering like a transformer about to blow but a steady power to use and control? 

I guess, that’s the conundrum of being a teenager, successful steps forward and a few faulty steps backwards, a constant flickering until the light inside them glows strong and steady. The shock of it, burns us both at times. So, while he’s figuring it out, I’m applying the curse all Mothers scream out to their children in vexation. I said, I would never do the things my Mother did to me. Unfortunately, we carry our Mothers in our soul’s history books as reference, pulling from those sage old teachers to guide us with our own children. Proof, we survived our childhood so, it worked for her, it will work for me; I mixed my Mother’s curse with a little extra sting, uttering his prophecy:

“I hope YOU (Ben) have all girls. I hope you understand the frustration I feel. I hope all your girls start their menstrual cycles while your wife begins perimenopause!”

Yes, I did. I went there. I cursed my child.

I managed to stump him into silence and scatter the rest of my men under the weight of that uttered statement. My 14-year-old, flew behind my back into his room, muttering, “Oh, my, you are done for Ben. Just stop. Shut up and run, Ben.” My husband eyes went wide and he patted Ben’s shoulder saying, “oh man, you are screwed.” He got between us and said, I think his exact words were “Don’t eat your young, honey, he’s really clueless.” My husband gently squeezed my shoulders, to remind me, I love this child.

I do. I love this young man.

It scares me. In 40 plus days, this young man graduates high school, begins prepping for college while he still walks around in a vacuum. My husband said, he’ll be fine, after all, I walked around in a vacuum. This is a minor comfort to me as my husband still walks in a vacuum at times. Granted, my husband, Dominick partners a successful family, leading a very active community presence and diligently successful work life. My husband is a wonderful role model for our sons.

It’s those hiccup moments, which lift my eyebrows in disbelief during Dominick’s referenced”vacuum moments.” My husband, Dominick at times makes me wonder if I’ll be “Driving, Miss Daisy” aka.. “Driving, Mr. Dominick”…insert his name in the Daisy field as Morgan Freeman and I swap driving roles. We actually joke about this movie moment quite frequently as our future life. Gulp, chuckle and a knotted stomach…yes, Ben will find his way like Dad.

He will be fine.

Someday, he’ll be the 49 vs. 17, and if, I did my job well my time will arrive full circle. I’ll just wait my turn to answer the phone and laugh myself silly like my Mom. And like my Mother, I will not remove the curse, because I owe it to my future grandchildren. Ben’s time will come and like me, he will be fine, too.

Little boys blue

A Tom Mom, I am not.
However, I am fully entrenched in all aspects blue for boy and so far away from my girly pink upbringing that I feel blended into purple.
My word, I am.
I am Wildcat Purple.

This assimilation into the cultural world of Boys and sports is a gradual insidious brain washing. I am stunned. It’s a shocking realization, how unaware that I have become engaged in any sport currently viewed on our television, regardless of my understanding or genuine interest. It’s there, just beyond my conscious consent. I am at least peripherally aware and tracking the plays. It’s subliminal like music in the ears while reading a book,,except THIS listening against my will. UGH.
I have lost control of the remote.

Beware Boys.
Mama has a game plan, a new kind of family time: The Hallmark Channel.
Hallmark’s new winter line up premiere’s new movies EVERY Saturday Night in January.
Maybe, I am not so far lost that I can’t exact a glimmer of pink torture.

IF, all else fails, I’m cranking up the stereo system and going through our entire 175 CD collection, starting with Barry Manilow and ending with all things 80’s.

Yep, like Barry sings, “I write the songs that make the young girls cry”….well…this Mama WILL sing that song to make teen boys weep!

Maybe, hmmm, a even little dancing to Chaka Kahn, yes indeed, the possibilities are twirling and gyrating in Pink.
Get your game on boys, I’m ready to play and I have the remote.

Thank heavens, there’s still a strong glimmer of girly pink. Phew. 😆

(*The Wildcats are the mascots for our school district.)

-Joanne Roth Marino

Life in a testosterone fish tank

Some Moms have tea parties, I have Mine craft farts.

Life in a testosterone fish tank:

“KILL, KILL, no LEFT, my Left dork, GO, go, Awe, Dude, YOU KILLED ME, What the HECK!”  frustrated son #1, gaming on line via the Xbox, while, simultaneously, in the family room on the laptop with his cell acting as a Kinect, son #2:
“No, No, A-man, KEEP PUNCHING!  Aidan, seriously, FOCUS!!! Lord oh mighty, did you just Fart!?  Sorry, Dude, my bad, Oh. My. God!  go, GO!! CHOP!  Run, kill the sheep. A-man,  you need more dexterity DUDE, oh my gosh, just passed virtual Gas, it kills them everytime!”

Yep, no dolls here. Just those alien XY’s.

-Joanne Roth Marino


Easter grass, Glitter and Legos

A few of life’s truths, which I’ve found to be right on the money in accuracy.

1. Easter Basket grass will show up somewhere in your house months and even years after the basket has been emptied.
2. There’s alway that one elusive Easter egg no one finds from the hunt.
3. Christmas glitter lasts forever like that strand of Easter basket grass.
4. A parent can walk around barefoot finding that ONE missing Lego piece invisible to the human eye. Sometimes, even years after the little builders are teenagers AND presumably, all Lego’s were donated to Good Will.
5. Nothing, absolutely nothing hurts worse than stepping on that Lego piece in the dead of night.

Joanne Roth Marino