I would like to say that our family is normally restricted to one "life" crisis per day but to be honest that would be a white lie. Teenager No.2 was waiting expectantly at the kitchen table for my return today. The kitchen table is the nucleus of our home, providing not only an essential place for physical nourishment and conversational exchanges of our days, but also a therapy centre for all emotional "issues" small and large.
Talking is a big part of our family. I have silently insisted on it throughout my children's formative years and have fought to maintain it into the teenage ones. Sometimes I have had to tell Teenager No.1 that there is such a thing as too much information but between you and I, I would rather that than nothing at all. What to wear to a party, how much revision to do, the meaning of life and the birds and the bees. Nothing is off limits - apart from swearing and farting - unless of course the Teenagers and Mr MoT decide to wind me up!
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt as I have charted my Teenagers' progress through pre-prep and beyond is that you can't choose who they decide to be friends with and this is never more true than when they take the step to "big school".
Gone are the days of doing the school run, hanging out in the playground chatting to the other parents and wandering off for a coffee, clutching diaries to "book in" play dates for your kids. At Secondary school, it is all about them asserting their independence. They catch the bus or the train to school themselves, organise their own social diaries and introduce you to their friends once they have made them and they don't care what you think. We have been largely lucky, that is until now.....
Teenager No.2 ended her last term on a bit of a low, having been told by a friend that she did not want her as a friend anymore. No argument, no warning just that's it. Peculiar. The fact this happened two hours before her first music exam made it an even more poisonous pill to swallow. We had tears of disbelief, frustration and even anger sporadically over the holidays but finished off in a place of calm acceptance.
Teenager No.2 has a large circle of friends and returned to school after a great holiday upbeat and positive, as well as resolute to be civil and polite to the ex-friend. Unfortunately, it would seem the ex-friend was not quite so accommodating and went out of her way to ignore and be rude to Teenager No.2, two things she cannot abide. Teenager No.1 ever-ready with his pearls of wisdom, reminded her that she had done nothing wrong, to stay strong, continue to be polite and it would improve.
Personally of all the friends Teenager No.2 introduced me to, this one aroused suspicions from the outset, but I stood back and reserved my judgement. I think Teenager No.1 is right, but in the meantime as mother I will continue to discreetly monitor the situation, offering support and guidance as only I know how and most importantly keep talking.
"We don't lose friends, we just learn who the real ones are."