I saw the above passage in my Facebook feed yesterday and promptly copied and saved it because I love it when other people write my feelings succinctly and turn it into an inspirational post so I don’t have to.
Before having children, I heard myriad dark tales of the harrowing experience of raising teenagers. Having eons ago been a teenager myself, I recalled the endless battles with parents, the scramble to balance friends and boyfriends and homework and extracurriculars and part-time work and social activities, and the confusion surrounding figuring out who I was and what I was supposed to do in life. I remember that time as exhausting and exhilarating, a period of self-development precariously balanced with self-loathing.
When my sons, now 18 and 16, were toddlers, I could not wait for them to get older. I longed for a time when I could understand what they wanted and discover who they were. And, through the infinite magic of time that speeds up as we age, I arrived here more quickly than I ever imagined.
While my parents struggled with their teenagers, I’ve found mine to be 10% terror-inducing and 90% delightful. Letting my son drive off at 6 am with his brand-spanking new driver’s license to head to the mountains for a hike, well…that’s terror-inducing. But waking up the next day, pulling up Google Translate on my iPhone to start brushing up on my French for an upcoming trip and finding my sons have been doing the same, well…that’s delightful.
My sons have brought out both the best and the worst in me over the years since they arrived and made us a family. Fortunately, as I have aged, I have relaxed a bit, which has made experiencing my sons’ teenage years more filled with laughter than fraught with frustration. If you get out of your kids what you put into them, I must have given my all.
This is so striking a cord with me!! Couldn’t agree more. Time with my teens is fleeting and I want to wring every drop of joy out of the time we have left with them under our roof!!!
Thanks for putting my thoughts into words and for showing that there are others out there who don’t just want to get through it!!
It’s a conscious decision to give kids enough autonomy and trust so they don’t take that teenage need to separate and rebel to the highest levels. I thoroughly enjoy my teenage sons and have no doubt they will continue to provide me with humor and pride as they begin adulting. Thanks for taking the time to comment. It warms my heart.
So spot on and true. Every phase with my son has had far more ups than downs, and I’ve wanted time to slow down — even more so now that he’s 19 and leaving for college in a month. I realize that those terror-inducing moments have mostly been because of my own fear & worries because I can’t wrap him in bubble wrap to keep him safe, and I have to let him grow and start forming his soon to be adult life. I am trying now to look forward with excitement to what he becomes and does, and revel in the fact that I somehow created such a good-hearted soul. Clinging to each minute with him in the meantime! Thank you for understanding that!