As I entered the family room, I marveled at just how much space my teenage son now takes up on the couch.
His legs sprawled towards the carpet and his shock of curly, unwashed hair brushed his forehead as his face scowled at the phone in his hands.
He’d been there for hours, too: due to completing his exams early, he had a rare day off from the demands of his freshman year in high school.
Save for an orthodontist appointment later that morning, he planned on spending the day with Netflix and his cellphone.
I, on the other hand, had my usual litany of freelance writing assignments, work demands and seemingly never-ending household chores on my docket. My day was jammed, every minute accounted for.
“We are leaving in an hour, okay, son? I want to leave at 10, no later.” I reminded him to shower and be ready to go when I emerged from my home office.
“Okaaay, Mom,” he said, barely glancing up from his phone.
At promptly 9:55, I hurried out of my office and grabbed my keys.
“Let’s go, bud. You ready?” I asked, expecting to dash out the door to make it to his appointment.
“Okay, but I just need to shave,” he said, still staring at his phone, not yet off the couch.
I sighed the sigh of exasperation that all mothers of teens have perfected and looked at my watch.
I was on a schedule, the precious minutes of my work day were ticking away as I waited for him to fold his lanky frame off the couch and finally get ready to leave.
Ten minutes passed and he still wasn’t ready.
He’s almost 15 and this seemed like a logical thing to do, even though he’d been laying around for four hours.
I lost my patience and yelled at him to get into the car.
I didn’t have time for his impulses.
I didn’t have time for his easy-going approach to departure.
I didn’t have time to wait for him.
I don’t have time at all, anymore.
I realized today that living with a teenager is tough, but not always for the reasons you’d expect.
Living with a teen is hard because it’s a reminder of how easy life once was.
Teens have all the time in the world.
Moms do not.
Moms juggle. Moms finagle. We ebb. We flow. We squeeze 27 hours into a 24 hour day, 8 days a week.
Moms are tired and we barely recognize our lives some days.
Exactly when was the last time we slept until noon?
When was the last time we called our best friend to chat for two hours about nothing in particular?
Teens can spend their days off from school snuggling their dogs while wearing pajamas.
Teens can see their friends at the movies and can laugh with the abandon that only comes with youth.
Teens can consume their body weights in pizza, ice cream and potato chips and skip the gym. Calories don’t matter when you are 15.
I miss that life and I’m reliving the lazy days of being a teenager through his eyes.
I miss the dog days of summer spent in front of the Price Is Right as I braided friendship bracelets for my friends.
I miss the days of laying on my bed and discussing boys with my best friend on my pink princess phone. Those conversations were about nothing and everything for hours on end.
I miss connecting with my friends at the mall or over milkshakes, discussing the latest styles and the prom dress with the teal sequins and white puffy sleeves in my closet.
Just like those days were fleeting for me, those days will be gone for my son, too. Sooner than later, he’ll have adult responsibilities and he, too, will wistfully remember his teenaged years.
I also realized my time with him at home is fleeting, like sand falling through my hand.
The days where he’ll take up the entire couch will end when he heads off to college.
The days when he’s close enough for me to ask him about his day in person will slip through my hands. And it will happen in the blink of an eye, I know.
As I looked at him, lanky, unshaven and with glimmers of the little boy he used to be, I relented and said, “Go shave. I have a few minutes.”
And I waited as he took his time.
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