Last week was March break for my kids. After much deliberations, and many negotiations, Dakotah finally talked me into allowing her to have a party at our house on Saturday night.
For any of you who haven't experienced 15 and 16 year olds yet, let me just tell you that the crazy 8-year-old parties you've witnessed are nothing. Those you can organize, and at least somewhat guide the children through the chaos. The cool things are balloons and treat bags and messy cake and ice cream.
When you're a teenager, the word party takes on a whole new element. Dakotah thought that perhaps 20-25 people would be the appropriate number of guests. I kindly suggested 8-10. We settled on 14. I might not have bargained quite enough on that one.
So, set up with a whole list of household chores to d0 (hey, I had to get some benefit from it!), Dakotah cleaned and organized, and did everything I asked of her last week. Which was actually pretty darn nice.
And when the honored guests began to arrive, I did what I promised - I slinked myself, my husband, and our youngest daughter up the stairs so that the guys and girls could do their thing.
I wish I had my computer upstairs at the time, because I had so many thoughts about this little get together...
Its strange being on the "grown up" side of things. Listening to the kids talk and laugh and just be goofy reminded me of my teen years, and they truly don't seem like as many years ago as they really are. It seems strange that I was the supervisor, the one "in charge" - when I so vividly remember being a kid just like them.
I have always believed that one of the keys to successful parenting is to know your children's friends. As much as a pain as it is to have kids hanging around your house all the time, I think it is well worth the investment in time (and groceries!) to have them be familiar with your home, and for you to be familiar with them.
I want to know what the kids Dakotah hangs out with are like, and I want them to know what to expect from me...where I am willing to compromise, and where I am absolutely not willing to compromise.
Dakotah did a really good job as hostess; she turned music and voices down when they got too loud, she stopped the sillies when kids were being crazy, and she checked in with me often. She even tolerated me coming and going every hour or so, just to kind of make my presence known.
I have to say, I think she really does have a pretty good group of kids she hangs out with. Even though the language sometimes left a bit to be desired when I wasn't downstairs, they were polite and respectful when I was. Some of the bits and pieces of conversation that drifted upstairs was a bit interesting at time, but nothing particularly shocking.
I was a bit surprised at the "couples" that seemed to be there - but these are kids in their mid-teens, and its a rite of passage to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend; its the time to begin to learn some of the intricacies of relationships, and to learn about who you really are. I felt kind of old and like my own mother when I wanted to sit between them on the couch. ;)
I haven't experienced the boyfriend thing with Dakotah quite yet, so getting a little taste of it was just another notch on the belt of this motherhood thing.
Right now, she is a social butterfly, who travels in a big pack of kids. Every weekend there is a party, or a movie night or something going on. I spend gads of time taxiing her here, there and everywhere. Most weekends, I don't see 5 minutes for myself, and there are times when I just want to scream "enough already."
I really do want her to love her high school years, to have fond memories of it, and to make good friends that she may carry with her for a long time. I want to have a good relationship with her, where she feels that she can talk to me about anything. I'm not seeking her friendship, but her trust in me as her mom, which sometimes takes on the role of disciplinarian and advisor, and yes, sometimes even dictator.
I don't know that I will agree to parties at our house too often - I was just too nervous, feeling a bit too out of control, and fretting a little more than I probably should have. It was just too many bodies to be responsible for.
But, we all lived through it, and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Every day these two girls of mine bring me new experiences, and new things to ponder. I wonder what our next adventure will be!