In the world of teenage boys, every day is an adventure, at least for those of us tasked with raising them.

I remember my brothers as teens, two older, one younger. I remember their insecurities, their angst, their hunger, their melancholy, self-doubt, limitless joy, recklessness, naivete and also their arrogance. I remember my brothers, and I see who they became. And in their adult self, I still see some of that young man, some of that boy.

As we raise our youngest, I see much of my brothers in him, the same intensity, humor, angst, naivete and arrogance. The same hunger. The same intellect and self-doubt.

As a young girl, I was in awe of my older brothers, less so my younger one, but that only because our closeness in age made him more of an annoyance than anything else at the time. For the record, he is wonderful and one of the people to whom I am closest as an adult. These brothers, whom I’m sure gave my parents countless sleepless nights, prematurely grey hair and balding head, and also most certainly fun, humor, love and pride, they grew to be wonderful and accomplished men, each unique, each intense.

It is this knowledge of how my brothers grew that uplifts me on days when our house seems too vibrant with the intensity of a teenage boy, when eggshells would seem armor compared to the paper-thin emotions we navigate daily. But even on these days, little surprises poke through, more memorable for their uniqueness than the stressfulness of the long day surrounding them. After a particularly challenging day recently, my youngest explained his frustration in this way, “…it befuddles me…”, and that was all I heard.





verb: befuddle; 3rd person present:befuddles; past tense: befuddled; past participle: befuddled; gerund or present participle: befuddling

  1. make (someone) unable to think clearly.

My 17-year old, non-academic, anti-establishment, angst-filled, and challenging son chose this word as he was sorting out his frustration in a spew of explanation. That one word a light into his complicated self. That one word opening a window into the extraordinariness that is my son and into the young man he is becoming.

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