My grandpa was the kindest most loving man besides my dad that I knew. He was 1 of 21 kids. His family was the Duggersof his time, and was even in the Joplin paper because of having the largest family around. He grew up on a farm, and when he was in 3 rd grade had to quit school to work on said farm. He couldn’t read or write. That man could draw you a picture and “read” you his story and captivate you; all while holding you in his lap with his strong arms around you.
I’m pretty sure he knew that he wouldn’t be around my whole life, and every chance I got to be alone with him in his little yellow Chevy Luv pick-up he always imparted his wisdom on me. He would admit to never being book smart, but that man had more common sense and life knowledge than any school boy could ever have.
He never would pass a stray dog up wandering on the highway either. We would always stop; pick up whatever dog needed him at the time and head back to the country. Grandpa said that dogs, like teenagers would fall on hard times because they were being difficult and people wouldn’t know how to love them properly. He would take them and nourish and doctor them. I can remember going to help him feed them in the kennels he had out back.
Grandpa also said that no matter who you are, any boy that reaches the age of 16 is going to try his parents. Even to the point of a physical confrontation. He said to know that and be prepared for that, because you might just have to whip them to show them who is in charge. I wonder if he knew I’d end up having 7 boys later. He told me he ended up in the barn more than 1 time with each of his boys.
True to his words, every single one of my oldest 3 boys went through that stage. At the time, I would have bet you money I would not come out the other side alive or with any of my brains left. Oh how those boys tried me in every possible way. There were not a lot of proud moments to remember from that time. I lost my cool and let them know they had the upper hand. Now my 4th son, 1st stepson, is in this stage. He pushes his dad's buttons, because he knows he can. His dad asked me "why is it when a kid turns 15 they lose their wings turn red and sprout horns out of their heads?" While it’s particularly hard on his dad right now, I sit back and remember how hard my struggle was with my oldest boys and try to encourage him that this too shall pass. Seventeen will come quicker than he thinks and he will start to get his mind back to him. Just like grandpa said, we just have to figure out how to love him a little different through this rough patch.
Teenagers, show us as parents what we are made of. They can either break you or make you stronger and ready for the next 4 to reach this stage.
My Grandpa never shared with me why snakes were made. He let me down on that one, I keep seeing more of those than I ever cared to now I’m on the farm full time. Snakes scare me worse than teenagers. Why didn’t you prepare me for this one grandpa? Oh yeah, you left that up to grandma and her shot gun. Wonder if that’s why my aim is so good when I’m scared or mad. Sometime, I might have to tell you about the time grandma chased grandpa around the house with the gun, which I still find hard to believe.
When you have a teenager or snake chasing you, hold steady and aim, with love at the teenager that is; this too shall pass.
Here’s to 17 coming quickly…