When preteen histrionics threaten, remember the biscuits

I was hovering in that wonderful plane between deep sleep and realizing it was Saturday – no school, no work, no alarm to set off the mad scramble for bathroom privileges and breakfast decisions.

But the smell of biscuits baking alerted my senses.


As I tried to figure that out, my bedroom door opened wide, and the cheery, round face of my son appeared in the doorway.

"Are you baking something?" I asked.

His smile provided the answer.

Off to the kitchen we went. A plateful of biscuits, along with a glass of orange juice and the newspaper – still rolled and held tight by a rubber band – were neatly arranged on the table.

These are the moments that take a mother's breath away and ensure that her heart has been stolen forever by a young boy's deeds. These also are the moments that make the preteen years bearable for parents.

I am quickly learning that preteens sometimes are wound up as tightly as the rubber band on that newspaper, and the range and variety of emotions they display can be the envy of any Hollywood actor.

Sometimes the world of adolescence expands just enough that parents are allowed in – to listen, be a confidante in a world without histrionics.

And then there are the times when the rubber band snaps, and we find ourselves bounced from the seesaw.

That's when it's best to whip out the warm-biscuit memory.

Warm-biscuit thoughts blot out those preteen looks that sometimes take direct aim at every parenting survival skill we moms and dads possess.

The minute you think you've figured out your child, he changes the rules.

But there's no reason that moms can't do that, too.

To keep things interesting, try this: When your child is quite sure you're going to say no, surprise him with a yes. Unless, of course, he's just asked to dye his hair fuchsia and sell flowers on the street corner.

Being the mother of a preteen teaches you many things.

Truth has a way of shining its beam on reality, and these preteen years provide us with a marvelous vantage point.

When I look at my son during this stage of his life, I see a child loving enough and intelligent enough to find his way around the kitchen to make biscuits for his mom on a Saturday morning.

When I look at his hands, I don't see the long fingers that frequently grip a basketball but rather hands that occasionally – when his friends aren't watching – clasp mine in a loving gesture that grips my heart.

I listen to his laugh and know that all is well. I revel in his steps toward manhood.

Adolescence is a shining moment in a young person's life. It's a time of discovery – of stepping out to see what lies beyond the doorstep.

Still, parents have the privilege of witnessing that progress and of providing a haven or a shoulder when either is needed.

This time in a child's life broadens one's view of the parent-child relationship – especially when you remember the biscuits.

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