The Amusement Park That is Puberty

You’d think I’d recognize the signs after three previous rides on the puberty rollercoaster.

While my own experiences with this life-changing, hormonal event have been overshadowed by a much more recent ride through the menopause House of Horrors, I still should have smelled it coming.

I mean, the funk of body odor has generally been the very first harbinger of the fact that both my grocery bill and the amount of dirty laundry generated were about to increase.

Dramatically, of course, because just about everything, when it comes to puberty, is rip-roaringly dramatic, right?

Sigh. Only one more of these wild pendulum rides to survive.

I’ve often told my youngest child that he got the best of me in terms of parenting. After my first two sons, I’ve come to learn that some things just need to be either let go or simply accepted without reaction. When my middle son – then a tween – came home after a week at camp with a newly acquired eye roll, I remember responding with a laugh that was more mocking than amused.

I now know better than to respond at all to such behavior. It too shall pass.

What I forgot, though, was the extreme mood swings of a kid whose body was leading him forward at the same time his emotional immaturity was holding him back. Picture the Kamikaze Ride and you’ll know of what I am speaking. Hot flashes have nothing on the annoyance displayed in response to the most simple and innocent question. Example:

Me: “What do you have going on this weekend?”
Son: “Why are you all in my business?”
Me: (In my head) “You have ‘business?'”
Son: (Continuing in a voice that cracks – endearing to me, infuriating for him)…”Just get off my back, Mooooom!”
Me: “Um, OK.”
Son: Stomps up the stairs. Slams door.
Me: Opens refrigerator door and reaches for bottle of rosé.

While he has yet to reward my beaten down mellowed state by promising an abbreviated turn on the puberty merry-go-round, it isn’t all bad.

There are moments when I can still glimpse the little boy who was renowned for his affectionate demonstrativeness and who found comfort by lifting my shirt and placing his pointer finger in my belly button, wherever we might have been.

I may not have known when he would perform that emotional touchstone act for the very last time. I do know this is my last time going through puberty.

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