We (I) spent well over an hour tonight scouring the house for a certain teen’s copy Pride & Prejudice. Why was the kid not looking for it??! Well, it’s one of those fuzzy things – where I remember picking it up and “putting” it somewhere safe to make sure he wouldn’t forget it. For the life of me, I can’t remember where that safe spot might be. Thanks to a week of ice and snow and no pressing need to take it to school – who knows where the thing might be … especially considering we have a Future Hoarder of America in the house.

As I searched and searched I grew more and more frustrated. Methodically going from room to room, I looked in every nook and cranny, even checking the ridiculous (like the laundry baskets). The thing that frustrated me the most was the clutter.

Have we learned nothing over the last year?! Are we not back where we started? Junk on the floor, beds unmade? In almost every room I found a kachi-bachi (Big Boss’s term for junk) bag/basket/box/whatever. Puzzle pieces, cars, dice, playing cards, balls, stray shoes, books (no Pride & Prejudice), coins – lots of coins, a cell phone, old homework (that I’m not sure was ever turned in!) really, you name it piled here, there and everywhere. All the time I’m searching, little FHA is scurrying around frantically gathering. Scared I might nab some of his best stash.

I did see him quick grab this little number.

Hmmm… an unassuming glasses case…

full of BATTERIES!

I’ve been looking for those things for months.

I knew I bought a big box, the contents of which disappeared as soon as I opened it.

I wonder where I’ll find the rest of them!

Beyond the junk, lazy bodies sprawled themselves in front of the t.v. watching a movie they’ve seen at least three times. They could have jumped up and helped me search. No worries about missing some plot twist or surprise ending. But … no. Not happenin’. They watched me search, combing through piles of junk without a care in the world.So…. Have the kids learned anything this year. Was our experiment all for nothing? Did grow in independence at all? Do they care that their rooms were, yet again, a virtual pig stye?!! Do they even notice?

Okay – so the fruitless search might have fired up my own bad attitude (I just might have gleaned some drama skills from a certain tween – see Drama Club). But – in the midst of the blah… I knew we had some fruit from our labor.

I watched my girls fold and put away the day’s laundry. I chuckled at a three-year-old “helping” – methodically doing what he could by folding dish rags, an 8-year-old eagerly emptying the dishwasher … and a teen finding an alternative way to read his lost book. True to tech-savvy kids, he downloaded an audio version so he could finish his studying. And… just for the record, instead of talking with the Charter Communications about our phone/internet outage myself the other day, I actually handed the phone to that kid and let him handle the problem. It felt good to tell the Charter guy, “Here talk to my son, he knows more than I do.”

Then…  I realized what I’ve been realizing all along… my efforts to equip won’t end when my experiment reaches it’s end. Yes… we’ve traveled our way from making beds, to cooking, to cleaning, to job hunting, to gardening, to washing clothes, to serving and so much more. We’ve crossed our year point. Are they pros at these things … no. Are they doing more than they did when we started our experiment a year ago? Yes. And they will keep getting better.

But parenting is not a destination. Oh how I wish it was. I wish I had the answer. Many days I wish I could turn my heart off, so the bumps wouldn’t hurt. But I know the truth. My heart can never be switched off because I love these kids so much… and parenting is a journey.

Many days I desire the best for them to the point of agony. As much a teen would love to Jeannie wink his or her way to the place they might consider a sanctuary (for one of mine, we all know he thinks it would be in the driver’s seat of a Porche – the ultimate picture of acceptance and success), I must admit I’m often tempted to wish for the wink. But we all know, good stuff comes from the bumps.

So… here’s a big MOAT shout-out to all our Table Talkers who have consistently provided wisdom over the last year, to our sweet Jane Jarrell for giving recipe tips, to our Ironing Board gals who have made themselves available to field any and all questions we have regarding parenting teens … and to you guys …

Thanks for walking the road with me. Thankful it won’t stop here…

Pin It on Pinterest