the gift of teenagers

This weekend I became the mom of a teenager. Out of excitement, I’ve had a countdown app on my phone for last 6 months. Chris and I are incredibly thrilled about the idea of a house full of teenagers.

Oddly enough, our excitement seems to be counter-cultural. There is this common conversation about how terrible the teen years are for parents. So many other parents have said to us, “Oh – you just wait.” or “You are going to wish they stayed babies.” Or something along those lines about how the teen years are something to dread and how instead of enjoying our kids, everything will shift. I am fully aware I have no idea what it is like to parent a teenager, but I know my kids. I adored them as babies. I relished them as toddlers. I loved them as kids. I treasure them as preteens. I’m pretty sure I’m going to still cherish them as teens. Call me crazy, but I refuse to believe the teen years are something to dread. It drives me bonkers.

BONKERS.
6147885520_83466e6974_oalmost88.29.12-79.30-06I remember my teen years quite well. I had amazing teenage friends – the believed they could change the world, be anything they dreamed of, and weren’t jaded by society. They were fun, smart, funny and so very odd. They loved others. They served others. They cared about others. The teenagers I knew were all kinds of awesome. I am willing to bet my parents would agree. I have a feeling they miss the days their house was full of a bunch of teenagers hanging out and being fully teen.3.16perspective-12

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In college, I worked in the youth department of my church. Again – all kinds of amazing, big dreaming, people-loving, wonderfully odd teenagers.

The teenagers I know these days are the kids of my friends. And they are just the same as the teenagers I remember – all kinds of amazing, big dreaming, people-loving, wonderfully odd teenagers.

4.16ArchesCanyonlands-07I know we will have our battles. I know there will be challenges and probably tears on my part and theirs. I know teens make life-altering decisions – sometimes those bring great joy and sometimes they bring great pain. I know so many of you reading this have walked through horribly painful circumstances and challenges as you raised your teens. I know the years ahead could be especially difficult as my teens gain independence and make mistakes. I’m not blind to any of that, but right now we are choosing to celebrate and step into this season full of wide-eyed hopes and dreams. Kids hear what adults say about them. Teens hear it too. My kids hear over and over again how excited Chris and I are about their teen years. They know this is a season that their parents are thrilled to enter with them.

My daughter recently asked me if I could have a super power what would it be. I told her the ability to go back in time, not to change anything, but just to enjoy moments a second time. When I see old pictures of the boys, I want to jump in the picture, scoop them up and hug them as tightly as humanly possible.

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As I finished typing this post (and wiping tears from seeing that old picture), my teenage son asked, “What are you writing about?”

“I’m writing about how awesome it is to be the parent of a teenager.”

He smiled and headed upstairs.

Welcome the teen years Corbett. As much as I would love to kiss your cute little boy cheeks again, I’ll stand in awe of your ripped abs, deep voice, and massive food consumption. Your parents are so overwhelmingly grateful that we get the gift of knowing you as teen!

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