Monday, September 19, 2011 • 3:47 PM Comments ()

Teen Blur, Birthday

posted by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

The eldest boy turns 16 today. Just, wow.

This morning I drove him to school because he had a calculus test first thing. First thing at our school is 7:30 in the morning, which is like a lot of hours too early for calculus—or school. But there you have it. It’s when he has calculus—and school.

I snapped one fast, totally blurry photo. I hate sharing blurry photos. I am though, because really? Raising teenagers is a hazy business. I am not very clear about the process, at least not yet. I feel pretty equally uncomfortable, annoyed and in awe of my teen(s).

Maybe because it was a really hard period to live through, I find it quite difficult to remember how really hard it was, and how miserable I often felt.


I do remember that my friends helped me through in some big, big, giant ways. The main thing was that we liked each other and saw in one another smarts and funniness and that whatever-ness that makes it much finer to spend time together and draw support from one another than not.

This is true in adult life, too, something I am fortunate enough to discover and rediscover.

One of the things I like about Facebook sometimes is getting more regular glimpses—they are just that—into the daily lives of people I hold deep down really dear, but who happen to live far away. For example, I love my friend Ben’s travels abroad; I adore his wife and I am glad that when we connect in real life it’s like we do have a handle on each other’s real lives. Also, sometimes he posts an odd photo of my old ‘hood.

One of my other closest friends from those days lives just across town. I highly recommend having an old, dear friend—one who knows your old everything by which I think I mean your family of origin and the place where you grew up—in your adult life. I am pretty sure that when her mother went into the hospital unexpectedly this summer, she knew the news was hitting me in the very deepest pit of my stomach, as has been true through other such moments. It’s a little sisterly.

My next teen, the one who just hit teendom in the spring, had a belated birthday-ish picnic with his nearest-dearest friends. His inner circle is very small and he both does and doesn’t hold tightly to these pals. Sometimes, we wish he reached out to them more. Seeing that they all do really enjoy being together was reassuring, even if sometimes he chooses home and sibs over peers.

He provides the tastiest picnics a person could hope for that much is for sure. Seeing him whip up a meal—and last week, having him wake up at five in the morning to bake his pie, I do also feel reassured he’s got his passions in life. I know that those help you, too, through the inevitably rocky thing we call growing up (or for that matter, being a grown-up).

He’s also at this point awesomely talented when it comes to cooking.

When we were picnicking and apple picking, Saskia ran into her pal. Quite often, seeing how very much she adores her pals, I am simply thrilled for her; she is already getting by with a little help from her friends.

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The Peach Cure
Teen Blur, Birthday
A Couple of Equations
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