The Alien In My House 

father-and-son Image via Shutterstock

There used to be an alien in my house. He didn’t have super large, glowing eyes or six legs. He didn’t peel off his skin at night to expose a translucent body. And he didn’t feed himself through a hole in his nose.

But he did change moods quite frequently. In fact, from one second to the next he had been known to go from laughing uncontrollably to screaming at the top of his lungs and slamming doors. He communicated in a non-verbal language that consisted of rolling eyes, shoulder shrugs and an occasional grunt seasoned with words like “whatever” and “yeah.” And he inhaled food as if it were going to evaporate before it reached his mouth.

If you have one of these creatures living in your home, you know I’m referring to the teenage boy. More specifically, the teenage boy not old enough to drive but too old to be seen with Mom in the car while being chauffeured around town.

“Drop me off here, Mom. Stop. That’s close enough.” God forbid he should be seen in the car with a real live mother.

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His hormones raged through his body like a roller coaster, turning him into a virtual alien unable to relate to the rest of his perfectly normal family.

He could devour a package of cookies, two pot pies and a burrito, and drink a quart of milk before dinner and then complain there was nothing left to eat in the house.

He left bowls of Jell-O under his bed to develop into fungal specimens that no living creature should be forced to breathe.

He was the center of his foreign world and completely misunderstood by everyone else in it.

As the years passed, I accepted his membership in this alien existence. I watched him grow to my height and beyond, as he grew out of his footie pajamas and into jeans. I listened as he went from the Muppets singing “Sesame Street” to watching rappers dancing in the street.

I went from bathing his imaginary friends to reminding him to shower before going to school.

And it was all okay, really. Except at the time I was having trouble remaining myself as he went through his transformation into manhood.

The sight of his strewn about clothes, at an empty package of my favorite crackers, at one of his innocent shrugs and that roll of the eyes, and I would go totally berserk.

I would look at myself in the mirror and see an alien face. What was happening to me? I would scream uncontrollably. Rant and rave, making no sense at all.

Logically, I could understand it.

He had reached that point in his life whey my memories began. I could remember those heartaches. The sight of that pimple the day of a big date. The phone calls into the night. The rapid heartbeat as the boy I had a crush on walked by without giving me a glance. The indecision, insecurity and that ever-present drive.

I was once there myself. But that alone was not enough to help.

A “Thank you, Mom,” a kiss on the cheek and an “I love you” would have been nice.

And you know what?

It did happen. When I would least expect it, he would plant a soft kiss on my cheek. Of course, the next minute he was once again communicating with that spaceship.

Sometimes, I would pray for them to take him away. Let him grow up, I would plead, and then bring him back. Taller, wiser, with  kids of his own.

Eventually, it happened. He grew up.

I walked into his empty room and listened to the sounds he left behind. That beep, beep of the video game. The whisperings late at night. The heavy bass pulsating against the doorway.

Standing there, in the center of what once his world, I  realized it all happened way too quickly.

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He passed through those memories of mine and has moved on to new ones. Some that I have lived through, others that I have not.

He is also getting what he deserves. An alien now lives in his house, eating all his food and slumping around as if nobody gets what’s going on in his life.

But you know what?

My alien loves that child as much as I love him.

Related post: About a Boy

About the writer

@Janie_Emaus

Janie Emaus believes when the world is falling apart, we're just one laugh away from putting it together again. She is the author of the time travel romance Before the After, and the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love. She has been published in many anthologies, including the bestselling You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth. Her blogs appear on many sites, including The Huffington Post, In The Powder Room, Purple Clover and Humor Outcasts. She was proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. But no award (well, maybe the Pulitzer) ranks higher than her family. To learn more about Janie visit her website www.JanieEmaus.com.

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Rena McDaniel 8 months ago

I had one of the too at one time. It felt like it was going to last forever and now seems like it was merely days. Now he has two of his own and I can’t wait for them to become teenagers!

Sharon Struth 1 year ago

Those aliens you mention, they can come in the female version, too. Somewhere between the ages of 22-23, the alien slowly left her body and handed me a wonderful, smart and ambitious adult. One who appreciates everything my husband and I do for her. Loved your post!

Elaine 1 year ago

This was tender, sweet spirited and basically marvelous. I have grown daughters and two walking blessings….Sydnie and Annie better known as my granddaughters. Being at our age and in the rare position of being able to view life backwards through our own and our children’s eyes and finally graced with the living walking …hip-hopping grace of those gorgeous girls. They make me religious……my cup runneth over and over!

This is my essay
favorite so far. My oldest daughter , honoring her little sisters first child wrote an exquisite book of poetry “To My Sisters Unborn Child”. by Courtney Kretchman.

Tony Natoli 1 year ago

Janie…

Scary… I thought I was done with raising kids but in the last three years we now have 2 more grandkids. The oldest is 19 and we have the “privilege” of contributing to her college education now…

I digress… Our only boy Anthony has been formally diagnosed as Autistic Stage II and is currently undergoing intensive behavioral therapy 6 days a week. Just last Sunday he grabbed my hand as we walked and it was the FIRST time he took the initiative to be “interactive” with me. Upon leaving he started talking in a “loop” and my wife told me to stop and turn around… He was waving his free hand as Mom guided him to the car he was saying… “Bye bye Papa, I love you… Bye, bye Papa, I love you…” over and over…

I don’t necessarily like long goodbyes… but I coulda stood there forever. God only gives special kids to special people. I am truly blessed!

On the other hand… I swear as I write this that my own three kids were abducted by aliens and replaced with some kinda clone. What they say and do reflects nothing of this household or their upbringing… they even speak in some kinda foreign or alien language!

I am thoroughly convinced that the 1950’s movie, “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was a documentary!

As always…

Your classmate… Tony

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Me, too!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

OMG! Does it go by fast. Just cherish every moment. But no matter where they end up in life, they’ll be your little aliens.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

And when he does, Cathy, you are going to love them like nothing you’ve ever known.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Four! I wish you all the best. But you know, I always wanted more children. I think big families are the best.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

And I’m sure you love him to death!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Good luck with your pregnancy. Yes, I’d blame it on the hormones!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Bittersweet onions!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

I cried a lot, too. But life goes on and better years followed. Although, I didn’t know it at the time.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Thanks for commenting and I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Hi- I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

We do tend to forget we were once that alien! Thanks for your sweet comment.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

I don’t think I was ever ready. But once it arrived, I rolled with the punches and made it to the other side.

Sharon Greenthal 1 year ago

With my son grown, graduated from college and living in another state (tears!), I could totally relate to this. Wonderful.

Patricia Yager Delagrange 1 year ago

Man, can I relate to this one. I never ever dreamed my sweet, affectionate, cuddly, kind, soft-spoken son would turn into an alien at 15. Now he’s 20, going on 4, I swear. He’s moody STILL and we still have to remind him to do the few chores he hasn’t been doing very well since he was 10!!! But the time goes by so freaking fast. I try to cherish every day in spite of it all.

Mandy Renfro 1 year ago

Not what this boy mom was expecting to read. *sniff sniff*

Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

I also believe that it is an evolutionary trait that teens turn into a-holes, so it is easier when it is time to shove these eye-rolling, whatevers out of the nest. If they were as sweet and lovable as when they were 4, we’d never let them leave. Every 40-year-old man would live with his mother. There would be no next generation, just man-children. Lol

Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

Aww, that makes me wish I had another. My two boys are 2 years apart, so when one leaves the other won’t be far behind. Then I remember all of the stuff that my husband and I have planned when they are out. Yeah. :)

Rebecca Louise Herbunot 1 year ago

Beautiful go 3 but the older 2 are hitting this stage now

Angela Adams 1 year ago

Enjoyed your post…Thanks!

Rayne E. Golay 1 year ago

This made me miss my alien so much. He’s far away, on the other side of the Big Pond. Great story.

Dion Oakes Gutkind 1 year ago

Awww, i love my alien!!!

Lisa Froman 1 year ago

Awww, makes me miss my alien. He lives in another state and I only get to see him about twice a year. I look forward to the day when he has his own little aliens too!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Oh, they do get better. But I loved every stage of my little alien’s life. And you are very welcome.

Lisa Newlin 1 year ago

This is so sweet, Mimi! I’m glad he came around. I feel like it takes boys longer but once they do they’re super loving to their mom. I suspect he learned a lot from you about how to be a great parent.

Much love Mimi! XOXO

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

It is a bittersweet time in your life when that alien leaves for a place of his own. Enjoy these years.

Pam 1 year ago

The best thing about those aliens is when they hit 19 or 20 they return to their human form. My 21 year old just gave me a hug and a kiss FOR NO REASON!
Great post, Janie. Brought back lots of memories! :)

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

I hope it didn’t impact your work too much! Enjoy these years. The alien years speed by.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

I hope they were happy tears.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

As you should. Aliens need love, too!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Thanks! Enjoy your alien years.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Ii wasn’t either, but it just happens. Nothing we can do, but enjoy the ride.

Carol Cassara 1 year ago

I’ve heard about this phenomenon!

Tam Warner Minton 1 year ago

The alien who lived in my house still has all of his stuff in his old room! “nowhwere” to store it he says. You know, he could box it up and put it in the attic! Lovely piece…he was still living in my house just a year ago.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Cherish these days. They are over way too soon.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

They certainly don”t. I know lots of Drama Kings!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

But I have found that even though boys are moody, they get over things quicker. And three boys CAN play together and not fight.

Doreen McGettigan 1 year ago

Oh Janie that made me cry. I was just telling my son how much his son reminds me of him.
Those days did pass far too quickly.
Beautiful post.

Mandi Rose Latislaw 1 year ago

Wow did I need this. ❤️

Angela Mahnke 1 year ago

I am officially crying big crocodile tears, I love him dearly and would do anything for him, but drives me crazy Angie Ferguson-Moore.

Sandrine Nickerson 1 year ago

Same thing with teenage daughter, I tell ya! Lol

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

There will come that day, but you will survive!

Sherry Mallet 1 year ago

Sniff…sniff…

Ruth Curran 1 year ago

My alien now is starting to act like me — now that is a scary thought! Love this piece so much!

Kristy Edwards 1 year ago

I have a 14 year old alien..this hits very close to home lol! Especially with the food! The only difference, when I come home, he ALWAYS asks how my day was, and if he thinks I need a hug, he gives me one. Then I tell him he needs a shower. Seriously, why do teenage boys avoid showers like the plague?!
And don’t even get me started on the almost 16 girl alien…
They’ve grown up way to fast, and i can’t believe everything I missed…

Kristy Edwards 1 year ago

Me too!

Christina Hahn 1 year ago

Sniff sniff

Vicki Kneller 1 year ago

Needed to read this tonight to remind me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. X

Licet Zalma 1 year ago

Can totally relate!!

Pamela Green Corr 1 year ago

Yes…I certainly can…Makes me a little sad because he is growing up so fast…

MollyandGarin McEachern 1 year ago

Made me cry!!! My alien is now 19.

Heather Mary Engler 1 year ago

17 year old twin aliens! Love them so much and then some, one is way more alien than the other but that is actually a good thing!

Roz Warren 1 year ago

Wonderful! My own former alien is now happily married and living in California. No little aliens yet. But a would-be Grandma can hope….

Vicki Batman 1 year ago

Hi, Janie! I love how they sneezed on their shirt and that became the germ proofing way to do it.

Maharlika Monroid-Manarpa 1 year ago

Just like my ” alien” here in the house..she’s 14 :)

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

You are so welcome. I also have a daughter. Definitely an alien species of her own!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Grand-aliens are the best! They come for a visit and go back to their own planet.

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

it will have its ups and downs. But in the end, you will love every moment. In retrospect!

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

I don’t think we are ever ready. But there plenty more good times to come.

Megan Wylie Potts 1 year ago

Tummy time with my 4 month old boy, while the two year old “drives” his bus around us. Our life flashed before my eyes when I read this….tears. Thanks for the reminder to live every moment with them! Before they transform :)

Angela Weight 1 year ago

I’m wiping tears from my eyes, listening to my boys playing down stairs. Think I’ll go down and join them. Thanks for an excellent read.

Amanda Hadder 1 year ago

my son turned 15 last wed. & this article describes him to a t nice to know i’m not the only mom dealing w/these things

Tara Carty Miller 1 year ago

Suddenly caught a case of the allergies towards the end and had to get a tissue.

Dusty Kerr Pedersen 1 year ago

I love my alien soooo much :)

Helene Cohen Bludman 1 year ago

Oh yes, I had one of those aliens in my house, too. Rather frightful at the time, but oh would I take it (him) back in a heartbeat.

Marisa Lott 1 year ago

My boys are 14, 11, and 6. They all kiss me in public, give hugs regularly, and fight to sit in the front. They do bicker amongst themselves, my oldest is going through a voice change, and with all of them playing sports, I have a hard time keeping food in the cupboards. I’ve been home for 14yrs raising these monkeys. All 3 will be in school this year, bitter sweet. Now what’s a mom to do, it’s like a sample of empty nest, I’m full of mixed emotions. Time is flying by and my boys are growing too fast

Janie Emaus 1 year ago

Marcia
I miss those days, too!

Cathy Chester 1 year ago

Posts about children growing up tear at my heart strings, Janie. Thanks for this Kleenex moment.

At 21 my son is at the stage of a messy room and one word answers, but when he’s ready he’s very conversational. He’s compassionate and loving and I am proud of him. But I will always miss watching Sesame Street and pushing him on the swings.

My world was made better by having him. But, yes, someday I hope he’ll have aliens of his own!

Marcela Marchesini Kapfer 1 year ago

I have four mini-aliens….7,6,2,&1. I got a little teary eyed with this still. :)

Amanda Griese 1 year ago

I too have an alien. …

PaulaF 1 year ago

Mother of an alien here. Of course, to be fair, my teenage daughter is an alien to her father. Still, I was not prepared for what it would be like to have a tween boy — especially, in my case, one who is physically ahead and developmentally behind.

Jenni Filipe 1 year ago

Mine is creeping closer to this phase way too fast. I’m so not ready

Vicki Mena 1 year ago

I loved this! I have a 2 year old son and I’m 36 weeks pregnant with my 2nd little boy and this made me cry. Just the thought of them growing into men, being moody teenagers and eventually leaving home makes me so sad! (could be the hormones too!! haha)

Trianna Landon 1 year ago

Goddamn onions. Got me again, and I wasn’t suspecting them! I should have read the comments first!

Sophie Alleyn Thackray 1 year ago

This made me cry, right at the end, with the empty bedroom.

Lindeeb Beery 1 year ago

Omg!
Thanks for adding me to this. At the end of it right when the tears started welling up….I burst out laughing that he now has an alien in his house!!! Ha!

Denise 1 year ago

I loved this story… Cause at times I get so frustrated with my Allien I forget when I was his age… Thanks for reminding me… (Plus I have one that has left home and I do miss him so…..

Cassie Gieselman 1 year ago

Ack! I’m not ready for that yet!

Karen 1 year ago

This is just what I needed, a things are going to get better story. Thanks

Missy Pflugh Ciminelli 1 year ago

One of these aliens currently resides in my house! Great read ,I teared up at the end.

Monica Twa 1 year ago

my “alien” turned 16 on Sunday. I really shouldn’t have read this at work. (reaches for the tissue box)

Kristi Kiefer Kuhfuss 1 year ago

Should have been a tissue disclaimer. ..

Amy Cooper 1 year ago

I have one of these aliens & I love him very much.

Wendy Wilkinson 1 year ago

I’m heading full steam into this…good perspective on it :)

Valerie Ann 1 year ago

I’m sooooo not ready for this stage…

Dana M. Sisk 1 year ago

I know this alien…his door is across the hall from mine…..

Mary Schneider 1 year ago

TRUTH. Girls have no corner on the drama market, that’s for sure!

Keri Prunty 1 year ago

on my 3rd tween boy. Man, they are far more moody then any of my friends daughters. geez

Samanthe Beck 1 year ago

Hi Janie,

We have a small alien in our home right now, (he rearranges all the living room cushions, leaves a trail of orange Cheeto dust wherever he goes, and refuses to sleep with the light out), but he’s so snuggly, we don’t mind so much. When he gets to the age where its not cool to snuggle with mommy, the other behavior is going to be a LOT harder to take!

Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) 1 year ago

I’m not quite at the alien stage yet (daughter, not a son) but the moods are definitely interesting. Thank you for sharing these sweet and eh-almost-sweet moments of yours with your son.

Lois Alter Mark 1 year ago

My aliens are gone, too, and I can’t wait to have grand-aliens!

marcia @ Menopausal Mother 1 year ago

Awwww…Janie, I love this. So sweet. Makes me miss when my boys were young.