As I sit at my desk catching up on a day's worth of emails and messages , I can hear my youngest son upstairs laughing out loud with his friends on his X Box. They aren't in the room with him but are scattered around the world on the end of a set of headphones , courtesy of XBox Live ( as if I even knew what that means ). Say what you like about these gaming console things , but there has to be something going for a device that brings relatively harmless fun ( they're in the middle of a virtual football match ) within reach on a dreary rainy midweek night.
They're singing now and there's much hilarity going on . I'm not in on the joke but there's a fair amount of competitive banter going on which is making me laugh . In fact he's just appeared in the doorway telling me that he's off to bed now. I haven't had to wrench him , goggle eyed , from in front of the screen . We've spent the evening eating together round the table and enjoying a few laughs about the day's events. Even my eldest son eats with us every evening and enjoys the chat at the end of the day , a chance to catch up with his family.
Being the mother of two teenage sons is not the easiest role in the world and I'm not going to pretend its been plain sailing. But we seem to have survived ... so far ... and I realise that it's got a lot to do with talking, keeping an open mind, laying down some strict boundaries and 'catching them' being good. I read about this somewhere a while ago and it instantly struck a chord. It's easy to be on their case the whole time, and believe me I often am, but every now and then I delight in being able to tell them that something I've noticed about their behaviour or attitude to life has really impressed me.
The funny thing is , I've just about got the hang of this parenting lark and before long they'll have flown the nest. I suppose better late than never.