Officially speaking, I will have two teenagers on June 1st of 2011. Unofficially, I have two now, and I think I will go forward with that idea. Tommy, or "Tom" as he is known to his fellow Boy Scouts, started shaving a few months before he turned 12 this summer. He is taller than his elder sister, he has hairier legs that I would if I didn't shave them for a good six months or more, his voice is on the descent, and he eats...and eats...and eats. He is the go-to guy for jars that are stuck, and he is my lawn-maintenance-man in training. He has yet to give me regular attitude issues, but since I would rather do without those anyway, I think that it is fair for me to call him a teenager. I am glad that he waited this long to make the transition.
Catie, unfortunately, followed in my footsteps by entering that hideous stage of life known as "puberty" on the early side of average. (Lord help us all if Monica does the same!) The physical changes have been here for a while, but it is only recently that I think she has stepped into the role, so often assigned to teenagers, of starting to think her parents don't know everything. The world is beginning to come into it's orbit around her; though for now it still often includes us. I am going to do my best to remind the universe that it's proper rotation is *not* around my 14 year-old daughter, and see if I cannot get it to resume it's course in the heavens.
I am certain she would scoff at my saying she thinks she is the center of the universe, and by comparison to many, she is still very level-headed, and I am grateful. However, it seems as though reminders that "tone of voice" and "physical attitude towards others" are both very important manners, have been needed more and more often. Your sister is your room-mate, you cannot keep her out of your room; just because your sister is being cheerful when you are not, does not mean that you have the right to snap at her for making any noise; when you say "sorry", say it like you mean it. Grumble under your breath at me all you want, God knows I did the same to my mother; but don't let me hear it or see it.
It feels wrong of me to even write these things down, since Catie is my right arm and saving grace. Living with fibromyalgia is no treat, but I hate to think how things would be if I didn't have her help. She understands that there are times when I just don't function, and she steps in and takes over as needed. She makes dinner more often than I do, gets lunch for Joey and helps Monica if she needs it when she makes her lunch, and will run a million little errands for me; often things like getting me more water when I am worn out and plopped on the couch. Tommy does help with a lot of these things, too, but Catie will often do things without even being asked, and she just seems to "get" it, which is a comfort to me. I am sure that a lot of girls her age and position in the family would be very resentful at having a mother who is often "broken", but Catie handles it all with a grace that I am not sure I possessed at so young an age. Maybe it has more to do with her being the eldest than I had thought.
She has her teenage moments, but she also possesses a strong maturity regarding so many things. If I factored all of that in, I am not sure she would still count as a teen at all; which would put me back to just one teen. Who eats...and eats...and eats.