The other night, all of my kids were out of the house and I was in the mood to eat the contents of the fridge – you know the feeling – you aren’t starving or anything, you just want to eat like there’s no tomorrow. I knew there was some left over Mexican food in the fridge, and there had to be corn chips because I’d just bought two family size bags a few days ago. I was planning a fiesta and I couldn’t wait to get home and heat up the leftovers after slipping off my jeans and snuggling into my robe.
And because I was really wanting to get crazy, I decided I’d eat the huge hunk of chocolate cake I put in the pantry that morning after they’d each packed a piece for their lunch. I’d devour that puppy while leaning against the stove as I was waiting for my dinner to get warm.
Only I got home and there was no dinner left for me. Not only was there no dinner, there only chips that remained were crumbs lodged deep in the corner of the bag. The only way to get to the crumbs was to lick my finger and scoop them out. Which I did as I stood in the pantry cursing my kids. How could they eat so damn much? I was already in my robe so Lord knows I wasn’t changing to go out, and the only thing left was some veggies and maybe broiled chicken.
I dug around for the cake, too. The only thing left was the piece of foil it was wrapped in which I found in the trash. Did I pick it out of said trash, and lick off the frosting? Maybe.
But as I stood there hovered over the trash can, I realized something: Yes, I’d looked forward to gorging myself as I laid on the sofa watching Grace and Frankie but I knew deep down I’d feel so much better if I didn’t do it.
I mean, it’s fun while I’m scooping the heart-burn mixture in my mouth and washing it down my throat with a tub of sour cream after I’ve polished off a piece of chocolate cake the size of my head, but I never feel good about it. Not right after, not for the rest of the night as I toss and turn, and certainly not the next day as I’m gulping tums for breakfast.
My teens saved me from myself that evening, I never told them the food was off-limits and the fact they like my cooking so much and eat it up faster than I can has kept me from making a bad decision more than once.
Our teens have this way of being pretty damn amazing, even when they don’t know that are. Thanks to them, that night I got a good night’s sleep and felt better the next day because instead of over indulging on Mexican, I had the leftover chicken and veggies – something they’d never reach for.
That night while lying in bed while not being propped up by my pillows because of self-inflicted acid reflux, it made me think about some more of the ways my teens have helped me out by just being themselves:
My daughter will tell me right away if my makeup isn’t blended. She’s never let me walk out of the door if my underwear was showing through my skirt or pants, and she’s always down for telling me something makes me look “too old.” My boys are great about staying on top of my booger situation – no one wants their mom walking out of the house with a floater in their nose. And if I have something on my teeth, they will practically dig it out for me. They all offer fashion and dancing advice, too. Sometimes I take it and sometimes I don’t, but it’s refreshing to know if I ask them their honest opinion about something, I’ll get it.
They Help Us Remember Stuff
If they know I’m forgetting something, especially if it’s about them, they tell me and keep me grounded. There have been many times we are at the grocery store and I’ve almost left without something important like laundry detergent or toilet paper. They know that’s a weekly staple. They also know I forget things like that all the time. Their minds are sharper than mine because I’m trying to remember a zillion things.
They Are Great Reminders Of What’s Really Important
Our teens still get excited about holidays, birthdays, and vacations even though they may express it differently than they did when they were younger. Nothing gets us more nostalgic then seeing something through our kids’ eyes. At this age, they invest in their friendships. When I hear them laughing with their friends, getting ready for a dance, or on the phone with one of their pals, it makes me want to pick up the phone and call my best girlfriend. It’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have the time to do that, but watching them makes me remember when I did make it a property and how much I miss those connections.
They Remind Us Of Our Bad Habits
Maybe this is because we are always on them to fix their bad habits like leaving an empty chip bag in the pantry for their mother to find, or going too long without a shower. No matter the reason, my teens are always quick to let me know I don’t need that second cup of soda because it’s so bad for me, or I really shouldn’t stay up so late because it makes me cranky and irritable the next day and I nag them too much. And now that I’m thinking about it, maybe that’s why they are constantly eating up all the junk food in the house; they know I will overdo it and complain about it for two days.
They Keep Us Updated On The Latest Technology And Lingo
They know what all the abbreviations floating on the web mean. I don’t have to look it up. At the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is figure something out on the computer or my phone. All I have to do is call over one of my kids and they take care of it in a flash. I’m convinced my brain doesn’t operate that way, and they have saved me from throwing many tantrums with their patience.
They Make Us Laugh
This is everything. Teens are witty, smart, and dammit, they are they funny. There are times my kids are so quick with a joke or comment I’m in awe and want to brag on them. But most of all, they make me laugh at myself. There have been countless times I’ve been wound really tight about something that’s not even important. A few days after the storm has settled, they love to bring up how upset I was about something trivial.
Yes, there are big trials to face during these years, but I never want them to think they are taken for granted. These years are precious, and whether they are making me laugh about an overreaction I’ve had, or are reminding me I really don’t want that second candy bar because I’ll grown about it, they are awesome.
This is What a Working Single Mom Needs Her Kids to Understand