Puberty – The New Purgatory?

(Written in March 2009)

The first clue to when Matthew began entering puberty was not the discovery of a hair. It first began with the incessant hormone changes. Things that he usually loved began to irritate him, me being great example. It seemed he went from wanting to be around me to avoiding me as if I had leprosy. I swear I thought I saw his head spin around a few times when he was really in a tirade.

Where was my sweet snuggly little boy? Suddenly he started glaring at me when I would ask a question and began providing minimalist answers.

“How was school today?”

“It was stupid.”

“What did you do?”

“Nothing.”

“Do you have homework?”

“No.”

It was awful. It was as if my favorite person in the world became mute. Nothing I could say or do was right.  I was an idiot and he knew everything.

Sometimes I think that when we are born we know all of the answers to every question in the world and as we age we forget those things. When we are babies we can’t tell people what those secrets of the world are because we can not speak. As we get older, dementia starts to set in and we just forget everything.

Puberty is like purgatory. It’s that place in the middle of being a baby and being almost dead. It’s a stopping place for all teenagers. The only problem is that it is the stopping place between heaven and hell for their PARENTS. One day you look at your sweet angel and the next day he has horns and a tail. Puberty is truly the devil in disguise.

I remember going to Matthew’s school to join him for lunch when he was in 1st grade. It was sort of the cool thing when your mom showed up to have lunch with you. Occasionally I would bring him something extra special by bringing Chick-fil-a. The other kids would look jealously at him while he ate his chicken sandwich, waffle fries and a coke while they were stuck eating their sloppy joes and cole slaw and 2% milk.  I was the cool mom back then.

Parents even get extra credit with their kindergartners when they bring cupcakes to school for their child’s birthday. The parents try to out do each other by bringing the best cupcakes. The ones with the gummy worms coming out of a chocolate dirt cupcake were a favorite for boys while pink princess cupcakes were a hit for the girls. When they are young it’s a cool, cool thing to have your parents come to school. When they are older it’s the most embarrassing thing in the world.

Fast forward to when Matthew started going through “the change”. Suddenly I could not be seen around him and God forbid should I try to get a hug from him whether it be in public or not. It just was not going to happen. It was if he would rather trade me for the bank robber on TV because that parent would at least be a little cool. Me? I was just the schmuck that happened to give birth to him.

Matthew’s dad, is a substitute teacher for our school system. On occasion he has had the true pleasure of filling in at Matthew’s school. He said it was hilarious when he would see Matthew in the hallway and yell out “Hey son!” Matthew would just roll his eyes and look the other direction. Which of course would prompt his dad into saying it even louder…”HEY SON!” All of the kids would look at Matthew and say “Is that your DAD? Dude that SUCKS having your dad teaching here!!!” I personally can’t think of any better payback for a teenager’s retched behavior than being at his school and embarrassing him to death in front of his friends.

Can you imagine the scenario of showing up to join your teenager for lunch?

“Oh my God, it’s my MOM.”

“Hi honey, just wanted to come have lunch with you.”

“Go AWAY. You’re embarrassing me!”

“But I brought Chick-fil-a!!!”

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