Teenagers & Tree Trimming

Teenagers.  They’re happy, they have sunny attitudes, the world is lovely, and you turn around for one second and all of a sudden they are moody, parents are pains, and the world is out to get them.  I’ve heard boys are easier than girls, but since I have two teenage girls, I have nothing to go by for that.

Thanksgiving was really nice – except for the clean-up, of course.  Oldest One brought four strays (as Husband called them) and my in-laws seemed to have a very good time.  Oldest One and friends went out shopping late Thursday night (and we even allowed an extended curfew) and again on Friday.  Husband and Little One spent a significant amount of time lighting the front of the house and the yard.  It looks so awesome.  So Friday we didn’t do the tree as planned, but that was okay.

Then we hit Saturday.  We planned to do the tree in the late afternoon. And I had expectations.  I didn’t want to, but as I found out later, they were there.  The tree has been a really fun family time.  When the girls were little we helped them put ornaments on, and as they got older my job became to unwrap the ornaments for the girls to put on the tree.  About four years ago Oldest One decided to take over decorating the house, and then Little One joined in, and we have had some inspired decorating going on.

I was doing bills with a migraine when Oldest One came up from her bedroom and said she was going to make Hanukkah cookies.  She started counting how many she needed, and I reminded her Little One needed to take about 60 or so to school.  We had discussed this before, but by her reaction I was totally out in left field.  Because I wasn’t up to a big discussion after about a minute I told her “Fine, just worry about yourself and I’ll do the cookies for your sister.”  Well, that really set her off, because apparently I made it seem like she was selfish.

And down the day went.  When it came to tree time Husband, who ended up spending the day helping friends till their backyard, was a bit sore.  Little One was super excited, and couldn’t wait to get to the tree.  Oldest One, well, she really put a damper on my fun.  She grudgingly came in the living room (took time out from cookies even) and sat in a chair with her phone.  She barely acknowledged the new ornaments.  Deep sighs accompanied my handing her the ornaments with her name to put on the tree.  She was a fun person to have around.  At least she let me take a picture of her and her sister in front of the tree once it was done.

But her attitude (and my migraine that lasted all day) really dimmed the whole experience for me this year.  Like it was so huge for her to be bothered with us doing the tree.  She didn’t have any other plans, so it wasn’t like I was asking her to not be with friends.  And I know this is common to teenagers.  But it doesn’t make it any easier to take.  Then, later on when we started watching Love Actually (a tradition after trimming the tree, along with When Harry Met Sally) all of a sudden she got excited, because she loves the movie, and plopped down to watch it with us.  Little One even sat next to her and they were very sisterly.

I have plenty of experience with the mood changes of the teenage girl, but it never makes it any easier when the mood is cranky, and I am the not-very-bright parent.  Strangely, I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything.  But, I really do like when the girls think everything is unicorns and rainbows, because I’m much less likely to be viewed as annoying.