I do not like roller coasters. The up, down, and whirl around does not thrill me. I do not like be buckled in and knowing that I can't get off until the ride is over no matter how loud I scream or beg. The few times I have been on one were spent holding on tightly, praying for deliverance, and with tears in my eyes imagining the headlines declaring my death at the amusement park. It is a helpless feeling. Please keep in mind I have only been on roller coasters that five year olds are allowed to ride.
I am now on the roller coaster ride of my life. I am strapped in, the car is moving, and there is no reasonable way out. I am the mother of teenagers. I have begged my husband to let me out on occasion, but he says, "No way." I have prayed harder than I ever have in my life. And I have imagined horrible headlines about about myself flipping out on the regional page of the newspaper.
Most days, things around my house are fairly reasonable. There is the obligatory grumbling and bickering, but life moves forward. And then there are nights like last night. My oldest son exploded almost literally. I was waiting for his head to spin around a few times. The trigger? We asked him not to slam the door on the dishwasher.
Just like a roller coaster, this loop-d-loop move was not out of the blue. We had been going up and down some hills. He had just lost his phone service (aka, oxygen for teens) for failure to hand in some school assignments. We, of course, were being unreasonable since he is passing the class and it is only mid-term. As with all loop-d-loops, everyone tensed up, grabbed hold of their position, and began to scream.
This was not fun.
Then it was over, we were coasting. Everyone relaxed, took some deep breaths, and looked at the scenery. The scenery of a teen's life is not always the best. So many conflicting desires, so many hormones, so much harassment from friends and non-friends at school. Plus, there is the conviction that your parents can't possibly understand. My son is right about that, and he is wrong.
I do not understand exactly what life is like for a 16 year old boy at the beginning of the 21st century. But 45 years on my own roller coaster have taught me this, it will get better. There are some beautiful sights to see, and there are some lovely spots for coasting. The loop-d-loops never last that long.
I am going to try to get over my aversion to roller coasters. I still don't plan to ride any real ones, but I am going to try to embrace this figurative one I am on. The next time the world starts to turn upside down, I am going to grab my son's hand instead of holding on to my seat tightly. And instead of screaming, "Stop it, right now!" I am going to try, "Don't worry! We'll get through this!" And we will get through, much too soon, all of us buckled in together in one car for the very short loop-d-loop ride of my son's youth.