I’m in the kitchen – around the corner from the living room and stairs, but I can tell which man-child of mine is coming by the way he bounds down those stairs. Ethan sounds like a labrador retriever sprinting after his favorite ball, James barrels down them like a great dane.
These growing boys can cross a room in a few steps and the only thing wider than their stride is their smiles. They are big and boisterous and talkative and loud and make noises with their body that are both hilarious and horrifying.
And I wouldn’t trade them or these teenage years for anything. I love catching more vibrant glimpses of the gifts and talents God’s given them and the character and integrity they reflect from Him. I will always be on my knees grateful that God thought enough of me to make me their mom.
Don’t misunderstand – I’m not romanticizing this parenting stage. I could grab with both hands a plethora of do-over days. I could do without our arguments and my quick assumptions and their poor choices. Our house shakes from slammed doors and the people inside shudder from anger and hurt feelings. But overall, these teenage years have been a shockingly pleasant surprise.
I chatted about this lately in a podcast with mom-extraordinaire Kat Lee, and Kat got me thinking on why I used to view this parenting stage as terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. I’m sure part of it was due to the stigma modern convention gives teenagers. I’m sure part of it was because like sharing horrors of birth stories, some women like to share horrors from raising teenagers. I also know part of it was because more than one well-intentioned woman would find me and my well behaved or not-so-well behaved toddlers in the grocery aisle and say with a laugh,
“Just you wait ’til they’re teenagers!”
In other words, no matter how easy or hard you think parenting is now, sister, it will get worse. Much worse.
Every time, I would say to myself No thank you, Scary Teenage Years. You can stay far, far away.
But ready or not, here they are. And believe it or not, I love this parenting stage.
Now my teens are only 14, and I still have plenty of time to change my mind on this. But I don’t believe these years are any easier or harder than the other parenting stages we’ve gone through. They’re just different. Easier in some ways, harder in others.
And chock-full of goodness.
So if you are a parenting stage or two behind me and I run into you in the grocery aisle, I might let history repeat itself and say something along the lines of Just you wait ’til they’re teenagers!
Because you might just love those years, too.