challenges and joys of parenthood, freight train runaway, lani wendt young, raising teenagers in New Zealand, samoa blog, samoa writer, samoan teenagers, sleepless in samoa, Spanish bullfighter

Because I said so.

Teenager’s and their Bull.

Today I asked my almost 13 year old daughter to get the laundry in off the line. And she said “WHY DO I HAVE TO DO IT?!” In a very angry, confrontational, witchy way. And she stamped her foot for extra emphasis. Like those bulls in Spain do at red flags and stupid men in tight brocade pants.

Time froze. Just like in the movies when a million decisions are flashing before your eyes because someone is about to get hit by a runaway freight train. I was bombarded with a million possible things I wanted to scream say back at her. All having to do with Why me

Why? Why did I have to endure four straight months of vomit while you were beginning life as a bunch of multiplying cells? Why did being pregnant with you make me sick enough to quit my job, become clinically depressed and spend my days puzzling over all the different ways I could kill myself? (Only I was too tired to try any of them.)Why me?

Why did I have to get mastitis feeding you? And then have to grit my teeth and bear excruciating pain – just so you could still get milk from bloody breasts?

Why was I the lucky one chosen to patiently chase after a 4 year old you, picking up clothing – at church, in the front yard, at preschool, in the store – because you decided that naked was the only way you wanted to live life? (Stripper alert…)

Why was I always stuck with the heartrending task of taking you for shots? Holding you in my arms, bracing myself for the jab, that instant look of betrayal as a child realizes you lied. It hurt. You didnt stop it. You let them hurt me! Listening to you cry all the way home, the disbelief and disappointment raking at my insides, Mama that bad lady cut me! I sore! Why me?

Why is every trip to the mall NEVER about me anymore? But always because you ( or one of your siblings…why in heck do you have so many of them!) need shoes, clothes, school supplies, sports gear, medicine and hair products. I used to love shopping. Until you came along. And money was scared away by the very sight of your grumpy teenager self.

Why do I have to do the hard stuff? Like talk to you about sex and boys
while trying not to squirm visibly. Like try to help you make sense of insensible things…why some girls are so mean and others are so silly and why some teachers are cruel and why we cant all be gifted at Maths and how we can still be beautiful if we arent stickfigures like the rest of the girls in your class. Why there’s wars and why tsunamis happen to some places and not others, why theres people starving when we just bought way too much food at PaknSave… Why? I dont know everything dammnit – why do I have to be stuck with all the questions?!

And finally, why do I have to cook for you, clean this house after you, drive you everywhere, help you with your homework, remind you to say your prayers,look after you when you’re sick, and make sure you dont look like a hobo-tramp when you walk out that door? Why in hell am I stuck with all those jobs?! And the laundry? Do you think it washed itself, walked outside and JUMPED up onto the washing line?! Huh!? Why did I have to do it and hang it all up in the *%$#@^% first place!

These are a few of the things that were running through my mind as the killer freight train roared and rushed past….(narrowly missing the belligerent teenager.)

But I didnt voice any of them. Instead I just said,

“You have to go get in the washing BECAUSE I SAID SO. THAT’S WHY.”