Friday, January 2, 2009

Revisiting New Year's Resolutions



Child #2 (my 15 year old son) and I stayed up until 2:30 AM this morning reading.* Just the two of us.

The house was quiet and peaceful. He was sprawled out on the couch; I was curled up in the La-Z-Boy with Dorothy the Dog. We made quesadillas about one o'clock, then returned to reading.

I'm writing about this because it's unusual. Although Child #2 is probably the child most like me (except he's smarter and blonder and calmer), he's pulling away more and more. He'd rather be by himself or with his friends or with Child #3 (I'm so glad these two still get along so well).

As 2009 opens, I find myself living with three teen boys.** Three teen boys whose goal it is to connect less and less with me. Who, quite frankly, are often noisy and opinionated and not always pleasant to be around.

And it occurred to me that my New Year's resolutions are too simple; that I took the easy road.

Do I need to take my vitamins daily? Do I need to exercise regularly? Do I need to return my library books on time? Yes. Yes. Yes. But I think this is the year to push the envelope with resolutions. And those resolutions are not pushing any envelopes.

So...I will definitely keep the above three. I will also keep the resolution about watching a movie a month because this is a way to connect with these teens of mine. It means I often end up watching movies of little interest to me, but that's just where I am in life right now.

I'm still finetuning a resolution vis-a-vis these teens. But I believe it's important to get one in there.

I should also add resolutions dealing with decluttering, keeping abreast of the news and providing more homecooked meals. But I'm not going to to. If I heap anymore on my New Year's plate, I'll panic and accomplish nothing.


There is a really nice interview with me up on Authorlink. Susan Vanhecke did a great job putting it together.

* Child #2 is reading Brisinger by Christopher Paolini. I'm reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
**Yes, DH and 8 year old Child #4 still live here too. ;)

And, uh, Happy New Year all over again!

25 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I think resolutions can be tricky. Make them to specific, and they seem unnattainable. Make them too general, and it's easy to not push yourself hard enough.

kim said...

Sweet little night owl moment.

Barbara Martin said...

Resolutions should be something that takes a bit of effort to attain, not something easy or too difficult. Otherwise meeting a resolution does not serve the purpose intended: which is to make you a better person.

JaneyV said...

The thing about the teen years is that it's the time in a child's development where they develop their peer-group relationships. This appears to be a pulling away from parents but in fact it's an important period which helps them to negotiate a position in the wider world. Factoring family time like movie night and vacations is an excellent way of maintaining the link (as is all those water polo matches you attend). I'm going through the same thing with Big Son (14) who seems to want to stay in his room and only come out for meals. He's online with his buddies all the time. I realized recently that the sands were shifting and, just like when I let him take his first steps, (which quickly turned into full-speed running) the nature of our relationship was shifting in a necessary way so he can grow into the confident, independent boy I want him to be. I guess all I can do is keep communication lines open (whether he likes it or not he still needs me) and trust that my adult son will want to spend time with his old Ma.

I think I will take a leaf from your book though and make time. Otherwise things will just slide.

Bee said...

Barrie (and Janey, too) - Probably THE thing that has most nagged at me the last couple of months is the erosion of my formerly very close relationship with my 14 year old. My resolution this year had to do with keeping in better touch with friends and family . . . but this one hits closer to home. Thanks for the words of wisdom -- and commiseration, too. Sometimes I take that teenaged withdrawal way too personally.

Happiest of New Years . . . and I look forward to more blogging!

Laura said...

Cherish those moments - no matter how far a teenager wanders, their true feelings and commitmnet to family will leak out ever now and then. Great resoluitons. Here's to a great 2009!

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

resolutions are nasty little things, i like to set goals instead. that way i feel like it's more of a to do list, items that already seem possible, versus something that i know i should be doing, and hope i can, but if not, it's just another new years resolution that fell through. goals just seem more positive and doable. and i feel your fear, my daughter is two and adores me now, but i know that there will come a time when she will pull away.. sniff sniff i think you are doing the right thing, being available and enjoying the little moments. look at it this way, once they are out of the teenage years, they'll be more willing to spend time with you.

liz fenwick said...

I have a simple and devious method - I control iTunes - so to get too the music they need to talk to me about what they want and why theu like it - I have only said no to one song ( I objected violently to the title and explained why)..........

Beth said...

Teenage boys who "disconnect" and are not so pleasant?
They come back - and are a joy to have around.

Kathy Holmes said...

How interesting! I prefer to think of goals for the new year instead of resolutions. Loved the book and the interview on Authorlink. WTG!

San Diego Momma said...

I completely remember my dad's hurt feelings when I pulled away from the family during my teen years. I'm so sensitive, that I know it's going to kill me when my daughters would rather spend time with friends vs. me.

As far as the NYE resolutions...I'm afraid of them. I've made so many promises to myself over the years that I haven't kept...

Still...good luck to you! You seem more motivated than I! :)

beckylevine said...

I am pretty sure that books and reading (and maybe a sense of humor) is the thing that will keep my almost-thirteen-year-old son from separating TOO far. Maybe this is the trick--one thing you truly connect over. Hope so!

beckylevine said...

BTW, I just LAUGHED OUT LOUD on page 2 of your book! Then I pushed it away from me in an act of SUPREME willpower, until I get my workshop talk developed and finish the Harry Dresden book I'm in the middle of. And then--I think it has to be get the boys out to a creepy movie night at the theater, while Sherry & I curl up together for an evening!

David Cranmer said...

Scattered comments here: That was a very nice interview... My Mom called and said a package arrived in the mail that looks like a book. So hopefully in another week (I'm back in the South on assignment) I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES will be in my hands... My resolution every year is to write more!

For Myself said...

I loved that sweet little moment with your son - especially because you KNEW it was fleeting and special. There will be more, of course, but you're realizing that you need to savor them.

*sniffle*

blueviolet said...

Are you coherent at the hour of the evening? I'm envious!!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

You're in S.Calif?? Oh how nice it would be to have a blogger friend in S. Calif! I was reading your resolutions and I see you failed to list eating pencils to add fiber to your diet??
(And I have 3 teens ... my oldest is a girl, followed by 2 boys.)

Vodka Mom said...

That sounds like a great, great night! Three BOYS??? HOly hell.

I am in the middle of Wicked. I love it.

Mary said...

That’s a really great interview! I love it when an author is open about the genesis of their book.

Lainey-Paney said...

My NY Resolution is to buy fewer diapers/pull ups.
So far, we're on day #4 of only wearing pull-ups for long car trips(haven't had any for 2009 yet) & bedtime.

We're doing okay....

Suzanne said...

I really enjoyed your Authorlink interview, I love the connection to Nancy Drew as she was one of my childhood favorites. Will you continue to write for YA, or will you also write for adults?

nancy-v said...

Resolutions?
*BAH"
With teens, survival is all that matters.
;)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Aww...that's great that you and your son shared some quiet reading time together. I already feel like my boys are pulling away, and they're only six and eight!

I'm not ready!

laughingwolf said...

hope the car incident works out in your favor, barrie

lawyer i called said to take my case to small claims court, and i have a good case, if only circumstantial evidence and no witnesses

as for the kids wanting less of you: just means you are a good mom doing the proper job with them, giving them the confidence to be on their own, later

gabe said...

My 21 year old son just bought a new big big tv and he wants me to watch a movie with him on it - I've so much to do and it guaranteed won't be the Guy Maddin movie I'd like to see but - hey! - just to spend time with him, of course I'll watch!