The Shimmy

The timing is suspect. Our household has three hormonal trajectories intersecting, two paths writhing upward and one sliding down like a blanket of dust. My kids are 12 and 14; I am 46; and the hormones are spiking, thrashing, and crashing. 

They are on the brink of young adulthood, jutting out their jaws to forge their independence. Their moods swing like a deranged pendulum, at times cuddly and chatty and other times cold and mute. 

They are visibly uncomfortable in their growing and changing bodies, awash with estrogen and testosterone. They are also slobs, as if the circuitry of their brains is so turbulent, it manifests itself in towels, bowls, spoons, and clothes strewn about in their personal spaces.

I try not to take it personally. I try to keep a sense of humor. But sometimes, it gets to me. The rudeness, the coldness, the mess, the deep divide between their sweet, gap-toothed, six-year-old selves to where we find ourselves now. Knee-deep in an identity crisis.

I too am on the brink. In the midst of the merry-go-round of perimenopause, I am often irritated, moody, and so tired. I have night sweats and inexplicable rage. The exhaustion of juggling work, marriage, motherhood, and the calendar has escalated naps to a daily occurrence. 

But also, thoughts of what’s next are bouncing around in my head. Shit gets real in your late 40’s. There’s no space for inauthentic. There’s no space for incessant people pleasing. It all starts to fall by the wayside, leaving you with space to decide who you really are without all those distractions. 

It turns out I am a super duper XXL people pleaser so I have lots of gaps to fill in. When you strip it all away, I’m not sure who I really am. At 46, I still have some growing up to do. 

The three of us are growing up together, trying to find our way through the minefields of adolescence and perimenopause. Transitions are messy and tough, but they also have their glimpses of rugged beauty. Watching my kids turn into real live humans with their own personalities, hopes, and dreams is fascinating. 

As I saw on a tea towel recently, “They make me laugh so hard, a tear falls down my leg.” I’m continually shocked and honored that they are mine. So we try to keep laughing and loving each other as we awkwardly shimmy out of our skin and emerge anew, ready to write the next chapter.

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