This weekend I took my kids to see a scary movie and we all ate two boxes of candy. I was able to sit in peace, enjoy the movie and overdose on chocolate covered raisins without having to hide them from my children for fear they wouldn’t be able to fall asleep from pre-bed sugar overload.
On the way home, even though 11pm was creeping in, we stopped off to get french fries because having something salty after all that sugar just felt right.
We looked at the stars through the sun roof and got into a deep discussion about the planets and no one interrupted anyone else or asked me for a drink of water.
Then, my youngest had to use the bathroom and he got out of the car and walked into the fast food joint and went all by himself as I sat in a very relaxed state, feeling the love from the seat warmer before my oldest drove us home. It was glorious.
How Can I Make My Teen Happy?
As my kids piled out of the car and got ready for bed, my daughter and her brother asked if they could camp out on the floor in my room. I was more than happy to honor their request. As I was lying in bed listening to them giggle and whisper about the dog we were watching taking a poo on our deck outside, I was thinking, Man, I’ve waited a long time for this.
The teen years are where it’s at. Your babies are self-sufficient and they still live at home. You can have stimulating conversations and let them stay up late without dire consequences. As a bonus, they can help you figure out computer stuff before you tear your hair out.
The teen years are when we begin to see our hard work pay off– on some days anyway.
The teen years are a time to enjoy your children in a way you weren’t able to before. Yes, it was fun sitting on the floor playing with them, building forts, and trying to convince them if they ate enough vegetables they would start to like them but now, you connect in a way you couldn’t before and there’s no bending over to tie shoes or wiping a bum.
Of course, it’s not miraculous at every turn, we all know how hard the parent/teen dance can be, but the other side of that is you get to watch them blossom. While you are busy doing that, you stop caring about the things that seemed to matter so much when they were small. Like letting them leave the house without a coat, and making sure they had matching socks.
Teenagers can come to the grocery store with you and actually help, or they can stay in the car and FaceTime their friends while you run in, then text you a few minutes later to remind you to grab sugar because you asked them to remind you of that and you’ve already forgotten.
Most teenagers sleep in and if they do wake up early, you know they are capable of taking care of themselves and you can roll over and drift back to sleep.
Teenagers can drive to the store for you when you run out of paper towels and pick up a bag of your favorite chocolate because driving is still new and exciting to them.
Teenagers still enjoy the holidays and all their offerings yet you don’t have to go through crazy stunts like moving the Elf around every night, or dying the toilet water green on St. Patrick’s Day. Also, they are really good at untangling twinkle lights if your give them $5 for their troubles so you can do more exciting things like eating raw cookie dough, or browsing Pinterest for new recipes.
Sometimes, I miss the younger years so much it physically hurts me. And there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to go back in time for a day and kiss those cheeks, smell those heads, and snuggle them in a warm towel after a bath in the sink. Going back to the nights when I always knew they were safe because they were tucked in their own beds sounds more appealing than finding the fountain of youth to me these days.
The teen years gives us a chance to be a bit more hands off so we can bond with our children in ways that stick, through meaningful conversations, watching the same television shows, or going for a run together.
The young years are precious and innocent. The teen years have grit, and can test you but I am getting to know my children in a way I wanted to when they were younger so I am going to settle in and be thankful for their self-sufficiency and the fact they are still living with me. Every talk, every late-night movie, and every time they remind me to get something at the store because they know how my mom-brain works, is a gift that I’m not taking for granted.
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