Peculiar things can happen when you raise teenagers…
Our middle son, born on Halloween, is a bit of a dark horse, a deeply introverted child. As he entered the teenage years (he is 16) he turned monosyllabic. This is not uncommon in teenage boys. Some only grunt so I am fortunate that my son still uses words.
However, he has turned dealing with parents into, what I have come to think of as, a multiple choice exercise. Whenever I ask him a question, he has a repertoire of five standard responses he selects from. Those responses are (in order of preference at his end):
- It wasn’t me!!
- Word puns and jokes (“Which Witch?! ” or “The Snow Moon/There’s No Moon” – yesterday’s invention)
When he is forced to engage in longer communication with me, he resorts to word puns and jokes wherever possible. (“Where did you park your broomstick today Mum?!”)
When he is in an exceptionally good mood his vocabulary stretches to “deez” (short for decent).
At parent evenings we are told that he is an A star student – but he is too chatty in class.
Recently (“reez”?!) one even stranger thing occurred. One day he “abducted” my teddy bear. Yes, I am the kind of grown-up who has (and travels with) a teddy bear. Her name is Anastasia and she wears a pink dress. A friend of mine made her a magical cape so she now wears a star-studded black flying cape over her pink dress. This makes her look like a cross between a wizard and a crow (and a bear obviously).
Anastasia started disappearing for considerable periods (lasting from a weekend up to about two weeks). I thought: either she has really cracked the use of her magical cape now and she is off on adventures – or there is something else going on…
After her initial disappearance she was spotted one evening seated on the sofa next to my son. They were watching TV together. I scooped her up and said: “So there you are!!!” She replied (with voice assistance from my son) that she loves hanging out with Son #2, that they have become close friends.
I explained that she is still my bear and after a long dialogue (yes a long dialogue, many words!!) she told me that Son #2 and I need arrive at a time-share arrangement. Not unlike divorced parents she added: a custody arrangement.
His Dad and I have made great efforts to keep our marriage solid. Where does (s)he get this idea from??
Anastasia explained that this could be very informal: I can have her for a few days and then he can have her for a few days. When I need to travel she can accompany me (today I am off to the U.S. for 10 days – I am writing this at the airport waiting for my flight) but when he needs extra support (for instance in exam periods or when he is ill) I will gracefully let him have her for days (or even weeks) on end.
Anastasia happily flies and shuttles between the two of us on her invisible broomstick.
When I need to know what is going on in my son’s life I ask Anastasia (with him within hearing distance to provide voice support). She tells me that she knows everything that goes on in his life (and mind) but she only has clearance to tell me a few selected things…
After two years where most replies to my questions are “Shifty!!!!!!” I consider that a major lucky break.
Anastasia will also answer questions about his emotional states. When I ask how Son #2 is she will say: upset, or happy, or annoyed…. and so forth.
What Mum of teenagers would not agree to a “time share” on her teddy bear to know what is going on with her son?!
The bear herself loves it. She views herself as a great explorer, a travel writer. She writes a Bear Blog on the Bear Web that humans cannot access.
I have often wondered if middle son, around age 18 or so, will decide to engage in regular communication again (perhaps he will need some help sorting out study finance for university?!)
My fear is that he will walk out the door, saying “bye” (or possibly “uh oh!!”) and forget to call for months at a time. My husband says: that is fine, we will make the phone calls or initiate the Skypes…. He may need money sometimes….
I do not know yet if Anastasia wishes to go to university or continue her life with me here in London. However, I am confident that she will be willing to liaise and mediate either way.
We can bear it – thank goodness for bears!!!
Imelda Almqvist, London Gatwick Airport, 3 February 2018
About the Author:
Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016. She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit 2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Art Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.
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