I Can’t Party Like a Teenager Anymore

So as I was saying, yesterday was Benjamin’s 13th birthday. It is finally starting to sink in that I have a teenager, although the tiredness kind of takes over any other emotion right now. Summary: I really can’t party like a 13-year-old when I am 34. Kinda sad. But I mostly kept up.

This awesome kid was looking so forward to being able to watch movies and play games that he could previously not watch or play, per our family rule. So all he wanted to do for this birthday is just that: watch movies and play games. I subtly tried (and not-so-subtly too) to get him to invite a friend over, especially since I knew Mike was going to be out of town this weekend, but he kept turning me down, saying he could just watch and play with me. Awwwww. Kind of.

Thursday evening, before Mike left, we celebrated with his choice of dinner: baked whole chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Then we had his cake — lemon with two kinds of frosting, which I baked and he wanted to decorate, served with ice cream, of course (oh my sweetness overload headache).

After dinner, we played a game where the kids had to pop the balloons different ways and get the candy out of them that we had stuck inside. Then they took Benjamin around on a scavenger hunt to find his 13 presents we had hidden. And of course, while the kids were exploring the house, I snitched some candy. Ugh…bigger headache. He was really happy, though, and loved his gifts, and felt very spoiled. I was happy that he was happy; I expect and ask a lot of him, being the oldest, and it was nice to make him feel special.

After dinner, dessert, presents, and more games, it was getting pretty late, but we finally got everyone to bed. I got to bed myself around 12:30 AM after cleaning up and doing some preparations for his actual birthday, which was Friday. Two hours later, I woke back up.

See, I had this crazy idea of wanting to wake him up right when he turned 13, which was around 2:40 AM, and watch Lord of the Rings with him, which he’s been dying to see and has been on his “13th birthday schedule” for years. But even though I woke up at 2:30, the baby also woke up, teething and fussy and freaking out. It took a long time to get her back to sleep. And then I had to make popcorn, of course, and get some treats ready and make orange juice, which we love to have with our popcorn. The kitchen was still pretty messy with stuff I hadn’t finished the night before, so I worked on that while I got the food ready, the movie set up, pillows and blankets on the couch, etc.

By the time I woke Benjamin up, it was 4:30 AM. I crept into his room so I wouldn’t wake up Owen also, and softly started singing Happy Birthday in his ear. He stirred, then opened his eyes, looking really tired. He had only been asleep for about five hours. I whispered, “Time to get up and party with Lord of the Rings!”

He blinked at me, sat up, looked at his clock, looked back at me, and said, “You woke me up at 4:30 in the morning to watch a movie??” I was like HECK YES. He cracked a smile, then gave me a hug and said, “Let’s do this! Thank you!” We stumbled downstairs together, snuggled up on the couch with our comfy blankets and pillows (and all our snacks that looked really disgusting at 4:30 in the morning), and started the movie.

Let me tell you, it’s a good thing I love these movies. I was so tired, having had little sleep for several previous nights before this, but I managed to stay awake the whole time. When we finished the first half of the first movie, I was so ready to go back to bed. Even though I knew the other kids would be waking up soon, I had to at least have a little nap in order to function. Benjamin was just barely getting started, though, and really excited to start playing his new games, so I left him to it and snagged a little nap. Ahhh HEAVEN.

When everyone woke up a little while later, we made him multicolored waffles with chocolate chips in them, alongside strawberries and smoothie. He played his games a lot during the day, which was all he requested to do during his birthday, so I obliged and tried to keep the kids out of there while he played. We all did his chores for him, as we usually do for the birthday person, and had to take him and Owen to play practice for a few hours, so we stayed pretty busy.

He was having a fun day, but all I wanted to do was go to bed. After dinner and scriptures and cleaning up a little that evening once we finally got back home after play practice and running errands, I was ready to crash. But he was raring to go still. When we got the other kids to bed, it was time to play games. And if you think me being able to play games on the Wii or Playstation is a funny thing when I am fully awake and functioning, you would not believe how entertaining it can be when I am not. Let’s just say this: he beat me. Several times. Badly. Very badly. And I had no idea what I was doing. But it made for some good laughs and crazy stunts!

I was feeling pretty nasty, having had way too much food again that day, eating out for lunch on the way to play practice, getting treats to share with his fellow cast mates and of course being naughty and indulging in some of them afterward that were left over, etc. He was almost as tired as me, right? And he had eaten at least twice as much as me, of both food and treats, right? But he was not phased. I tried to remember what it was like when I was 13. What my body was like. What my mind was like. What I could and couldn’t handle. It is hard to remember that far back! But I am pretty sure I could eat whatever I wanted and stay up as late as I wanted and was able to do just fine, for at least a day or two.

After the games and myself not getting along very well, I thought for sure he would be ready to call it a night. No such luck. We had to finish the second half of the extended version of Fellowship of the Ring, right!? Sigh…and yawn. Okay. Here we go.

Two hours, more popcorn and treats, and a lot of bonding time but getting- really-tired time later, I thought for sure he was done. Nope. Time to start watching the Harry Potters he has been dying to watch. Oh goodness…shoot me with a tranquilizer now please…

I mean, it is great — super great — that he wanted to just spend so much of his birthday with me. But wow. I really cannot handle very much of this anymore. Sad realization, I know. I think I am still a kid a lot of the time. Surprised? ;D

Honestly, after half of the first Harry Potter he wanted to watch, plus big root beer floats, he finally gave in. It was just getting too late and we were both so tired and our stomachs were really grossed out. But this would definitely be a memorable birthday, I bet! At least it better be, dangit!!

With Mike out of town, I let Benjamin sleep in our bed, which he was excited about. We don’t let the kids do that very often. He slept like a baby, but I had a lot of chances to think about him since the time he was a baby, while I was up with a fussy baby again, as well as Zachary off and on. And he was a cute baby.

Once he got over his acid reflux, which was a horrible nonstop screamfest, he evolved into this happy, goofy, funny kid. He always had this flair for entertaining everyone around him, and has always been a magnet, a fun personality, and a natural leader. He has always been good at pretty much everything he tries. Sometimes this has been great for him; other times not so much, because sometimes he gets lazy and doesn’t try very hard. He has been blessed with lots and lots of talents, and is also smart, so anything that doesn’t come naturally, he can usually figure out right away. I think his biggest challenge might be humility haha! But he does pretty well with that, too.

It has been an amazing experience for me to watch him grow into this cool young man that he is now. Looking back over the years, I can definitely say that yes, it has gone by way too fast. Here I am, with my fifth baby, who is going to be nine months old in a couple of weeks. How did that happen? Wasn’t that just Benjamin??

I have tried to savor it. I have tried to focus on the good things and not get too caught up in the challenging parts about raising children. I could never have done any of it without Mike, for obvious reasons, but for not so obvious reasons as well. He is my rock and my better half. We are a team. I could not do any of this alone.

And time marches on. Today is another day…full of chores, working outside, playing with the kids, giving everyone haircuts and baths, maintaining this crazy household, etc. One day closer to my teenager’s next birthday. Before I know it, he will be dating, driving, going on a mission, going to college, getting married, and having a family of his own. Really freaky, but pretty cool to think about, as well. I just want to make sure that I am present for all of it. Really present, you know? That I don’t let days just slide by without realizing what is happening or taking advantage of the experience. It goes by so very fast.

But at least I was able to have a great — albeit exhausting birthday with my kid who, although he is now a teenager, requested to spend his birthday with our family, and with me, even down to snuggling in my bed with his mama.

All of the tiredness in the world is worth that.

I am sore. I am tired. My stomach is still nasty and I think I have gained 10 pounds this weekend. No, I may not be able to party like a teenager anymore, but I have an awesome teenager, and that makes me happy. 🙂

Now I just have to will myself to stay awake tonight for Lord of the Rings, take two: The Two Towers…



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