Friday, October 12, 2007

On Parties And Parenting

We had a fantastic housewarming party last Saturday. Our dear friends C is for Coffee, Salsa Man and their two kids made the drive out. Bet's mom and Karl (a troll boy) also came for the weekend (uh, separately - in case that wasn't apparent. It would be terribly odd to think of them showing up together. Karl is 6 ft 8?9?11?! - a red headed, former rugby-playing giant of a (bisexual) man and Louise is a 5'2" smart yet scrappy, gum chewing grandma also known as Ya-Ya.) Anyway, I forget how many people we'd invited to the party, but I think about 75 showed up. Food, friends, crazy loud conversation (especially from the corner of our kitchen now known as Mojito Bend) all warmed the house. Havoc had chosen to make a special appetizer for the party. He'd listed out all the ingredients the week before, made most of it the night before, and had it perfectly displayed at the head of the food table the day of. I wish I could show you a picture of his scrumptious cheddar cheese, white wine, pecan encrusted cheese ball - but I didn't take a picture of it before the party. And it was gone before I knew it. I did have C is for Coffee take a picture of the plate - scraped bare with a few forlorn crackers abandoned and adrift. Havoc was pretty darn proud of that empty plate! I personally loved that our closest friends helped us hang shelves and art work mere hours before the party. Their touch, their mark, their laughter - it's still here even though they had to leave. I think that's what a house warming is all about. (That, and Dude, if you ever need some mums, have a housewarming party! Seriously, we have more mums now than we know what to do with and they're gorgeous!)

The rest of this week has been by turns fabulous and irritating. Parenting teens is more of an emotional roller coaster than I thought possible. I thought the infant stage (with the new mom hormones, the lack of sleep, and the baby changing every day) would be the most volatile. I mean, I knew teenagers themselves were volatile and challenging but I guess I expected the process of parenting them to be an unremitting struggle - a constant slogging. It's not. It is up and down and all over the place. We've got good grades and smiling faces. We've got a bit of slyness, a nudging of the boundaries, and a wholesale trample of the rules followed by, "Wuh? What did I do?" We've got restriction and recrimination. We've got hilarity at family dinner and full participation in family movie night. We've got treat wheedling and homework frustration. We've got a first break up for the second child to date. He's ok. Not quite broken hearted. Maybe a bit confused. Apparently it was a mutual break up for no reason. Sometimes that's the way it happens. We've got a kid scratching the word "Justis" into his arm. (Clearly, we've got spelling issues too.) Decoration by Sharpie is one thing, decoration by sharp object a whole other thing. We've got a call in to the therapist. ("Oh hey, Dr. Smith - you missed something here!") We've got hugs and tears, beautiful school pictures and kids who are even more beautiful in real life. We've got memories of our own teen struggles overlapping our understanding of what our kids are thinking, doing, and saying. In short, I think we've got the usual quota of joy and terror. I could use a little less terror, but hey!
And speaking of peace!! How about that kick ass committee in Stockholm awarding Al Gore (and the global warming group) the Nobel Peace Prize for all of their work?!! I think it is awesome and far sighted and much deserved. We have the movie "An Inconvenient Truth". We're watching it on Family Fun Night next week.
More Peace.

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