Writing Brought Us Together

January 20, 2012

As the mother of two teens, I hear a lot about keeping an eye on their whereabouts and talking so they’ll listen. I’ve never been a big believer in parenting (or doing anything really) based on how an expert or even the masses seem to think it should be done. If it feels right for me and my family, I do it. Even so, I hear the expert rumblings about how to keep teens close. Play video games together! Make your house the house where everyone wants to hang. Set firm boundaries and natural consequences for crossing those boundaries. And you’ll have healthy, happy teens who won’t shut you out.

But I don’t like videos games. And for over a year now the constant renovations on my house make it unsafe for teenage whirlwinds to run wild and free. My boundaries? They’re like Swiss cheese. (I follow and teach one “commandment” to my kids: Be kind. The rest sort of falls into place.) Somehow I’ve managed to have healthy, happy teens, but they still shut me out sometimes. After being Queen Coddler when they were babies and toddlers, this hurts. Of course, then I remind myself that they’re successful, independent young men so the wound stings a little less. And then something like this happens, making the hurt disappear:

My oldest brought home a graded, seventy-point English paper yesterday. I read his words, and then his teacher’s words. Both were beautiful. He wrote about baseball. (Yes, we’re obsessed.) She wrote nothing but praise. One of her comments included a question: So you’re going into sports writing, right? I asked him about that question. I wanted to know his answer. I half expected him to grunt and roll his eyes and walk away. Instead he talked to me.

Sure, it was my birthday, so I received extra attention to begin with, but something else happened when I told him how proud I was and that I’d always thought he’d make a wonderful sports writer. He started coming around more, wanting to talk about it until at one point I offered to set him up an anonymous blog where he could start blogging the world of sports from his perspective. He seemed very intrigued.

I was treated to more hugs and conversation with him yesterday than any day before, and I don’t have a single parenting expert to thank. Writing brought us together. And for this mom, it doesn’t get much cooler than that.


2 Responses to “Writing Brought Us Together”

  1. Summer Says:

    What an awesome post, Elley. Brought tears to my eyes. Hope they’re always this close to you.

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