To differentiate themselves from Generation X, Generation Y gave themselves the name of Millennials. Because, according to Strauss and Howe, in Millennials Rising, they are “special, sheltered, team-oriented, pressured, conventional, achieving and confident,” which is very different from the “lost” Generation X. I am a part of Generation X, the rebel generation. My son is a part of Generation Y, a generation, who for all of their fine attributes just mentioned, are in reality, a breed of narcissistic, spoiled brats who feel entitled to everything, have limited understanding of consequences, and are rather ill-equipped for dealing with the harshness of reality.
I had my son when I was 22, an age that I find mind boggling now, but at the time didn’t really seem so young. He was the first grandchild in the family, and the first baby in our very tight-knit group of friends. I had never been around kids before, but I read everything there was to read about babies and becoming a mother, so I felt pretty well prepared when he showed up. There are so many books out there on babies, toddlers and little kids! The “What to Expect…” books are basically the bible of child rearing, I don’t know where I would have been without them. But books on getting through the teenage years, where are they??? A manual on how to survive raising a teenager, without hurting anyone, and doing as little damage as possible – where the hell is that book? Guess what, it doesn’t exist. It obviously isn’t because there are no survivors. Is it because surviving the teenage years can be so profoundly difficult that no one wants to relive them in order to write about their lessons learned? Maybe. Well, I’m in the heart of it now, and I’m going to write about every gory detail, everything I learn along the way, the mistakes I’ve made and will make. I am sharing my story in an attempt to make sense of this bizarre new world I have found myself in, while trying to hold on to my sanity, and possibly limit my child’s future therapy costs.
So here are the facts. I’m a single mom, which is for the most part not really relevant, teenagers are teenagers. My son turned 16 in May. I love him more than anything in this world, though he makes my heart hurt on a pretty regular basis these days. He hasn’t had the most traditional life compared to the other kids he’s surrounded by in our little neck of Suburbia. He was born in Cape May, a little island beach town at the southern tip of NJ. It’s a magical place, where time doesn’t exist in the same way it does over the bridge on the mainland. He modeled in NYC as a young child, and was in the FAO Schwarz toy catalog, a Paula Cole music video, is on the cover of a Harlequin Romance novel, and was in an episode of the Sopranos, among other things. When he was 6, my company relocated us to southern CA. He spent a part of almost every day on the beach for the seven years we were living there. He fell in love with running, and ran the L.A. Marathon twice, at ages 11 and 12. We were relocated back to NJ the summer before 8th grade, which he was very excited about, as we would be living close to our family again. We drove across country together to really celebrate this next chapter of our lives. Life was good, full of adventures and possibility, and then the teenage years began….
The teenage years suck. I barely survived them the first time, and now that I have the pleasure of going through them again with my son, I am getting a whole new perspective on how agonizing these 7 years can be. Call it Karma if you want, I will be the first to admit I deserve to be tortured after what I put my parents through. But in this particular case, paybacks are not only a bitch, they are an evil, maniacal, sadistic monster, with an extremely twisted sense of humor
I was a horrible teenager. I never got in any legal trouble or ended up in rehab or anything like that, but just shy of those extremes, I pushed every limit possible. I was very smart, got good grades, and ended up attending the “College of my Choice”. As these were the things that seemed to be most important to my parents, not having any kind of real relationship with me, I had no regard for any of their rules. I partied, a lot. I dated boys I shouldn’t have. I basically spent high school grounded, or doing something which I would eventually get grounded for. I now have such a great appreciation for them being able to deal with me, and not sending me away to the convent in Switzerland, which always seemed to be on the table. And I am really, really sorry for being such a monumental pain in the ass.
Karma can be a bitch, and this blog is about my struggle to survive it.