Can I survive the next decade?

I have been a parent for over eleven years and I’m thoroughly convinced that I have no idea what I’m doing (and I probably haven’t all along which is why it’s good that I can fly by the seat of my pants). I discovered this fact early today as my child was sobbing the closet for no apparent reason. As I climbed in there to soothe her, it hit me that I was completely unequipped to get through puberty (and that the next nine years could be rather long).

Am I ever going to learn what this parenting gig is all about? Probably not. But, let me tell you what I’ve learned so far.

Childhood is split into two distinct decades. The first is wonderful (once you get past colic, viruses and temper tantrums). The second not so much.

The first ten years, kids adore you. They want you to hold them and play with them. They let you wipe away their tears. You are the center of the universe and a freaking hero to match.

The second ten you become stupid (especially as you struggle to help with homework) and overbearing. It’s a good thing that they’re too big for a lap because they don’t want sit on it or sometimes even a hug. And, you’re no longer a hero, you are more of a nuisance.

The first decade kids look at you with big saucer eyes that make you want to melt. They grab your hand to cross the street and hold tight. Every night is magical with story time and snuggles.

The second decade is filled with eye-rolling and “the look” (you know the one that tells you you’ve said something totally dumb). Your hand is batted away lest someone see you hold it in public. And, bedtime consists of getting those reading minutes for school in and protests.

We as parents are constantly pushing our kids to the next decade. We do  a lot of “when you’re older….” and “you’ll be able to do that soon” when what we should be doing is savoring every moment of it. Because you hit the second ten years and all the rules change and so does your child (good news is that if you squint really tight when you look at them, you can still the the baby they once were).

Now, after saying all that, I do have to confess that every once in a while Rosie will still hold my hand or attempt to climb in my lap. So, I’m blessed. But, I do miss being the one who can magically kiss all the tears away and make it better because I’m discovering that I can’t.

Will we survive the next few years? Of course. Will they be hard at times? Definitely. Can I do it? Yes. I just need to relish the good moments to get through the bad.




About debcb

All Deb wanted to do was work, until she had Rosie. For the past decade, she's juggled a full-time career, high-profile volunteer work and mommyhood.


  1. Working through those years myself, right now. All I can say is, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

    Now that my 17 year old has almost arrived at the “other side” of the ugly teen years, I can safely say your daughter will see you as a human again one day. Someday.

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