Sunday, September 13, 2009

teenagers and other mysteries of the universe

it was a weekend with extended family. sister- and brother-in-law, nephews, husband's ex-step-father and the grown children of his recently deceased long-time girlfriend. on her deathbed, she had requested that proceeds from the sale of her old car be used for a family get-together, so we fulfilled her wishes this weekend. little cabins were rented in a campground in the little village of randbøldal, not far from legoland, so that we could spend the day there with the kids on saturday. we dragged sabin's big sisters along, they are, after all, family too and should take part.


the eldest, nearly 18, has more or less emerged from the sullen teenager stage and is fairly game to the experiences coming her way (this may be a skill she acquired at my sister's place last summer). however, the middle one is 14 and in the throes of pure teenager (read: sullen, sighing, brooding, eye-rolling, hanging back, only grudgingly doing what she's asked, sleeping the day away (i could go on...)).


so it was really funny when i opened my story of the day email today on the iPhone in the car on the way home and read today's story: That's the thing about free will, he told us. You can drag me along, but there's no way in hell you can make me have fun. i do love iowa artist brian andreas' sense of humor. he always seems to hit the nail on the head when it comes to people.


to be honest, none of us had that much fun at legoland. it was crowded to the gills. it was a bit more chilly than you'd like it to be. and the main thing we did was wait in line...for tickets, for rides, for food, for coffee, for ice cream, for legos. in fact, we ended up not buying any legos because the line at the end of the day was that daunting and we'd had enough. of course, the kids did have some fun moments on the rides and it was more worth it to them. but even they were all exhausted and whining by the end of the day.


the day was redeemed by a beautiful dinner consisting of grilled beef tenderloin, salads and a mess of freshly-picked mushrooms that one of the others (who had had the good sense to stay away from legoland) had found in the forest that day. we looked for more this morning, but found only a few porcinis (karl johan) and no chanterelles.

husband has a thing for little local museums. he has taken us to old mills and tiny little amber museums in the past. he sniffed out a local museum within walking distance of the campground and we went there before heading home today. husband drove the car down to the museum and i walked through the woods with the girls, hoping to find some more mushrooms. the woods were hushed and dampened by fallen leaves and filled with the sound of birds and a creek merrily rolling along. it was a beautiful short walk to the museum.


middle child walked ahead, refusing to enjoy any of the experience, and sullenly waited on a bench near the museum, looking thoroughly embarrassed and exasperated at the rest of us, as we stopped to take pictures and investigate along the way.  it makes me a bit sad for her. why do teenagers do that to themselves - closing off from what is purely and only a great experience? the outdoor part of the museum had countless experimental ways of moving water that you could try. she did finally cautiously give herself over and try one of them.


inside the museum, we found a lovely older woman who showed us how to weave and how to make paper. sabin and her oldest sister each wove a long cord while middle child looked on and sighed and occasionally asked how long it was going to take (apparently because she was so looking forward to the three and a half hour car ride home).


they had a whole room full of looms at the museum, where a weaving club gets together on a weekly basis. the museum is on the site of an old factory where they made fabrics and paper from the mid 1700s all the way up to 1974 (hence the two activities you could try). the volunteer staff were so wonderful, i didn't want to tear myself away. it made me want a loom (of course, just what i need, another craft). or at least made me want to find a similar weavers' group in my area so i could learn about it.

in all, despite the crowds at legoland, we had a great weekend. but i do wonder if middle child will look back and regret that she held herself back and didn't allow herself to enjoy it? sometimes i think she'd like to simply sleep through age 14 (and sometimes i wish she would). i hope sabin's not like that when she's a teenager, but i suppose i should brace myself. teenagers are simply mysterious beasts.

17 comments:

MissBuckle said...

Teenagers ARE beasts... but most of the time they grow into great human beings.

As for local museums... we have a couple of beautiful ones here in Stavanger. The canning museum is really cool.

Elizabeth said...

See it just as an experience to prepare yourself for Sabin's teenage years.

Can you give me the address of this museum because it looks very interesting and I know we will make another trip to Legoland next year.

Nanodance said...

They are mysterious beasts. I know I was at that age. My son just turned 18 and I am happy to report that he is back to being the wonderful person I have known and loved since birth, but it was rough going for awhile there. That museum looks really beautiful. As a teenager, however, I would have been bored out of my mind.

kristina said...

ah, teenagers, can't live with them, can't... eh.

Lorac said...

What a really fun weekend! Dont worry on middle child, she will outgrow it. I never wanted to be with family when I was that age but enjoyed it once I got into my 20's.

Maggie May said...

Dakota is 15. So YES.

THank you for this post. I can't explain why but it made my day better.

xo

rxBambi said...

yes, beasts. At least some of the time. Of course you know that if you read my last post on friday night thoughts :)
On the bright side, I think most of it passes fairly quickly. Unless the child is just a true butt-head. I could be thinking of my step-kids at the moment, but I'll never tell for sure. I'm hoping one day they grow up too...
parenting is hard, but trying to be a parent to kids that aren't your own is probably harder. Or maybe not, you can always blame the biological parent for her flaws... Not that I would do that...

Optimistic Pessimist said...

I was the same way at 14...sighing, eye rolling, just being overall obnoxious. It took quite a few years but i grew out of it once I figured out that i was the uncool one.

CatLadyLarew said...

Teenagers... ugh! I was one of the worst!

Thanks for the link to Brian Andreas. Love what I saw on the site!

B said...

I love that museum! I absolutely must go there.
As I think I mentioned in one of the Blog Camps, I was a truly horrible teenager... but I think I turned up OK in the end... middle child will too... and so will Sabin!

Just Jules said...

you have tapped into my new fear. Oldest will be 10 in a week and I can already see it. I knew I was going to turn instantly stupid and embarrassing and all that, but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. I hope I regain my brain just as quickly as my son thinks I have lost it!!!!

McVal said...

It might be a middle child thing + teen years. My son went thru that, however he was the oldest. Sullen, withdrawn... acted like he didn't like anything, but years later talks about those events like he'd had the time of his life.

Christina said...

omgoodness! the teenager thing, argh! and then they will tell their friends, they had a blast!
great pics.
xo

Pattern and Perspective said...

I have one about 3 feet away from me on the other couch - (ARGHGH I'm on the big one because I'm older!) She was grumbling all night -- why is it that when you ask them a question they are snarly! Ugh, anyone, duct tape? hehe I hear you.

Bee said...

I wish that I could explain the withdrawal of 14 -- and how it can just ever so slightly poison the experience of everyone. My 15 yr old (and you know how we've suffered with/from her this year) actually let herself ENJOY a family walk yesterday. It made me so happy.

Looms and mushrooms: exciting and delicious!

Cyndy said...

Teenagers are indeed a mystery! But then I think back to how I acted then and realize, no, not so much...

It's just a time when nothing feels like it fits right, that no one really quite understands you, and that life seems to be scripted with you as the damsel in distress but prince charming is on holiday. No wonder a nap seems to be the best solution...

bored.mind said...

awww. i hope she'll get out of that stage soon. i cant remeber being in that stage when i was a teenager. i guess everyone is different. glad you had a wonderful time julochka. good day! :)