Recently Son #2 and his girlfriend broke up. They had been going out for quite some time. Prior to becoming boyfriend/girlfriend they had been the best of friends for nearly a year. During the course of this relationship from its friendly beginnings to the abrupt ending I realized many things...
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to those young gentleman that I had the privilege to call my boyfriends while I was growing up. You know who you are. I apologize to you for all of the expectations that I placed on you during our "courtships". As a teenage girlfriend - I recall wanting to be the most important thing in your world. I cut you very little slack and expected a great deal.
As a mother of teenage boys I now understand the truth behind the situation. Girlfriends are a rough thing to add into the mix of male adolescence. Sort of like sugar into a recipe. Just enough is perfection. Too much can ruin the outcome.
Time is a teenage boys greatest possession. FREE time is absolutely precious. Teenage boys are under instruction from numerous adults, all jockeying for a chunk of their time.
This morning I was contemplating all that is expected of my teenage boys.
To pick up their rooms. Help out with chores. Take out the trash. Feed the dog. Be home for dinner. Cut the grass. Carry in the groceries. Study hard. Prepare for tests. Do their homework. Complete their projects. Participate in extra-curricular activities.
Extra curricular activities...
That adds more expectations from more people doesn't it? From teammates. From coaches. Extra meetings. Practices. Physical conditioning. Weight-lifting. Games. Meets. Tournaments.
Then there is money...
Teenage boys need jobs. Jobs to make money. To pay for all sorts of things. The new basketball shoes they want. Gas for the car to go out. Birthday gifts for the girlfriend.
So they get a job.
Suddenly - there is yet ANOTHER adult that needs more of their time. And since they are in school that timeframe is very limited. Late weeknights. Weekends. Work schedules are usually set around their school and sports schedules.
Then the weekend approaches and there are those family plans. Someone's birthday to celebrate. Holiday to participate in. Family trip to take. Relative to visit.
Hmm. If we plug all of those things into a calendar we find that there is very little FREE time for them to have time to themselves. To sleep in. Watch television. Participate in hobbies. Or just to hang out with the guys...
I have watched Son #2 juggle all of the above. Wanting to please as many as possible.
I admired the fact that he was willing to part with any of the time that he had left over to spend with a girlfriend.
But relationships are difficult. They take time. They take effort. Even when you're a teenager.
I have thought about all of the teenage times I complained that those guys were getting off of the phone with me, when they probably really needed to do homework. Or the weekends they spent playing softball with the guys - who had probably harrassed them for ditching them lately. Or spending a Saturday night at home after working all day. Or grounded because their grades were suffering.
After being a Mom of teenage boys - I have a much greater appreciation for all of the effort that really comes from a teenage boy who is willing to give time and attention to a committed relationship.
So for all of the teenage girls out there feeling heartbroken for a multitude of reasons - I hope that this helps to give you some insight into guys. They really are doing the best that they can do. Are you adding to their joy or their frustration? Support their endeavors. Their hobbies. Their ambitions. Their responsiblities. They need that. And you deserve the same in return. Come to think of it that applies to grown up relationships and marriage too.
Which reminds me...
Last week I fussed at my husband for not spending enough time with me. He works hard at his job to provide for his family. He gives of his evenings and weekends to coach and support his boys' athletic teams. And here I am complaining...
I guess I owe you an apology too, Babe. I know you are doing the very best you can to be everything to everyone. I should be more grateful for the things that you do for me.