Thursday, November 06, 2008

I'll take my comfort wherever I can get it....

...which basically means, I'm not picky about where I find some sort of validation for my life.

As the mother of an eighteen-year-old and two seventeen-year-old boys, I take almost daily comfort in a comic strip titled Zits. A few of them have decorated our refrigerator from time to time. (I've also accused my boys of secretly drawing the comic - the stories are that familiar.)

The situations in the strip are nearly always exactly on target, but last week, the Sunday comic helped me more than normal, in my daily search for confirmation that I'm not quite losing my mind or about to fall over the edge. I've often suspected that I must be the only mother of nearly grown boys that asks questions as mundane - possibly even embarrassingly so - as this: brush your teeth? Use deodorant? Homework? Backpack? Lunch? ipod? Cell phone? I mean, how clueless can teenagers be? Isn't all of this automatic by now?

[Here's a real life example: The boys once spent months going to classes and then a day or two in rehearsals for their Confirmation ceremony, and were well aware that we were planning a lovely dinner for family and friends to celebrate this milestone. One the appointed day, the boys arrived home from school, and found my mother waiting for them, plus my husband and I getting ready, dressed in fairly formal clothing...and I asked them to head upstairs to change into their new suits because we would be leaving shortly....and they asked - honestly, they asked me - "Leaving for what??" I'm not making that up. ]

Turns out, almost nothing is automatic with teenagers, except perhaps text messaging and changing a profile description on Facebook. The mom in the strip asked every single one of these inane questions of her son, Jeremy. In an increasingly exasperated way only teenagers can master, he answers yes to every question. Then he steps out of the car at school and realizes he isn't wearing shoes. To his mom's credit, she zooms away in the car, leaving him in his socks.

The best part is that Jeremy complains to his friend, Pierce, about his mother's forgetfulness. Pierce, who happens to not be wearing any pants that day, agrees.

Thank you Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman. You and your cartoon family furnish much of the validation I need to keep trying, day after day, to enjoy the ride, take a breath, and enjoy every single moment with my children. Exasperation aside, they are amazing. Yes, they appear to be unconscious about many, many things. But at this point, once I get past the frustrations of living with boys who seem to have the short term memories of fireflies, I remind myself that it's all too fleeting.

And that like fireflies, they're brightening my life, if only for a relatively short time, before the seasons change and they move on.

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