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November 24, 2008

Teen angst

In June of 1989, I went swimming on a gloriously sunny, hot day in Alligator Point, Florida, a little doohickey hanging off the panhandle. Because of its location (Gulf of Mexico, can you say bathwater warm?) and the season (ever changeable summer), I should have known to be careful. Instead, I swam out pretty far and laid on a raft, just floating, soaking up the sun and enjoying my time away from my (then) husband. I was listening to the sound of the water lapping at the raft and the distant noise of kids playing on the beach. I remember thinking that I couldn't wait to take this trip as a family someday, with kids and diaper bags and chairs and coolers in tow. As I drifted in the waves, I was rocked to sleep, all sounds of the beach fading off into the distance. What I didn't know was they were fading away because I had floated out to where the current grew erratic, out of the protected inlet, past the sand bars and into deeper water.

When I realized I was hearing the sound of nothingness, I looked around and saw that the beach was just a smudge of brownish beige and I had gone far west of the beach access. I began paddling back toward the beach but my arms became very tired fighting the current. I thought it would be smart to slip off the raft and kick, knowing I had much more strength and stamina in my legs.

I was fighting a losing battle. For every stroke forward, I was being pulled back, so it took forever to make any headway. It felt as though the water was pulling on my feet, trying to pull me back out to sea. Every kick was a monumental effort, a struggle against the riptide's embrace. Several times, I wanted to give up, so sure I was that I could not make it. Lord knows it would have been easier to just give in and float on out but, for some reason, I kept kicking. Instinct kicked in and I was full of survival adrenaline.

When I finally did make it to shore, I was quite further down the coast than the point where I had gone in and I had to drag my sorry, sopping wet, sunburnt ass back to my stuff, all the while being berated for being stupid and clumsy by my (now) x.  Later that day, after I thought I had coughed up all the sea water I had swallowed, I tried to sleep off the exhaustion, only to be woken up every few minutes to retch more fluid. Turns out, I had a bit of sunstroke and eventually I was swollen, feverish and shivering uncontrollably. It didn't quite ruin our vacation but it wasn't the most pleasant trip I've ever taken.

Funny how when you are dealing with teenagers, your mind makes connections. I feel the pull of the tide of my children's emotions, knowing any minute I could be pulled into the swirling vortex and drowned. It is so much easier not to fight, just give up and wait for it to be over. For some reason, though, I keep trying new ways to communicate, to relate, to keep us all afloat.

I'm on pure survival adrenaline now. While the boy (17 next month) seems to be coming out of a bad patch (thanks to a new girl, apparently), the girl (just turned 15) is in a downward spiral. Her best friend is, and I mean this with love, a little shit and since the girl can not help but act like the people that she hangs around with, she is being a little shit too.

Tell me ... where are the parenting magazines and websites for single moms dealing with just everyday teen angst? My kids aren't troubled or in trouble, they are just "normal" kids. Since I was pretty much left to raise myself, I don't have a good model of parenting to hold myself up to. I guess I just really would like to know that I'm not on this raft alone. 

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on November 24, 2008 5:13 PM.

Sums the election up pretty well, I think was the previous entry in this blog.

The Book of One Hundred Truths is the next entry in this blog.

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