challenges of parenthood, children. joys and challenges, lani wendt young, raising teenagers in New Zealand, samoa writer, samoa writing, sleepless in samoa, teenagers

Family. Why we need them.

My mother-in-law is a wise woman and every now and again, HRH likes to quote nuggets of wisdom from her. Especially at tense moments with his children. Like when JB is giving us attitude because we wont let him go ‘hang out’ with his new friends at the mall. And it is so unlike JB to give us surly attitude about anything that we hardly know what to do. He harangues and harasses…why cant I go to my friends house? Why cant I go to movies with my friends? And we have a civilized chat, explaining ( yet again) that we don’t know these friends from a can of herrings. And there is no way in heck that we’re going to let him go to places with people we don’t know. He can invite them all to OUR house and I will make cookies and pizza for them and everyone can have a jolly dandy time. In OUR house. It makes perfect sense to us. But not to JB. Who sulks and mopes and kicks the wall when he thinks nobody’s listening. And when we have a family outing planned that clashes with more friend invitations and he has to hang with us instead – he double sulks and mopes and kicks the wall double hard. Especially when we tell him that family comes before friends. All the time.

And so in desperation, HRH pulls out this gem that his mum used to throw at him. “Son, you have to remember how important your family is. I’m going to tell you what my mother would tell me when I was your age and I wanted to go off with my friends, she said, If you get hit by a car one day and you’re stuck in hospital paralyzed – who’s going to come wipe your bum for you? Your friends or your family?!”

And the sulky teenager has no words to counter that one. Speechlessness. (Its a beautiful and rare thing from a teenager.) All JB can do is shrug and roll his eyes. And HRH is triumphant because he’s just won Round One in the heavyweight fight that will last from now until JB moves out/gets married or grows up. Whichever comes first.

And what do we learn from this?

Families are forever.

Because they will wipe your bum for you when you need it.