Every family has milestones, marriage, first child, first steps, 5, 10,15 20, 50 year anniversaries, first graduate from high school / college, retirement… they just keep coming on coming and we pray that we live to see them and they are joyous occasions for us. Well we hit a few of those milestones this past month. The first was expected, Olivia turned 13, that means we have 3 full fledged teenagers in our house, and in another month and 1/2 we will add another. Now Livy has always been very low maintenance, very self sufficient, helpful and just a great child. But I could say that about Alli and Dorian too, until they turned 13. Something happens, and perhaps it is our perception, or perhaps it is reality and symptoms left over from the eating of the tree of knowledge, but either way, I perceive it as real, so to me it is real. At that time their needs are much more important than anything on earth. What they want, what they think, what they say outweighs everything else in, not only the house, but the city, and often times the world. Does it make us love them any less? No, but at times it does make them less pleasant to be around, and much easier to tease, I must add.
Since we already have two in the house, we have some training, and God has blessed us with good kids, even though they have typical teenager troubles. We try hard to remember what we felt like during that time, and I don’t remember it being pleasant. I remember my folks thinking they know everything and not understanding why I needed to stay out to 3 am. I remember how hard the driving test seemed and how hard I worked to get my hair just right ( reserve all comments please) life seemed stressful, because up to that point, I had not really felt what stress was.
I mean I had to be at school six hours a day, and one of those hours was basketball, the other was film class, and, well you get the picture. I remember my mom & dad explaining, sometimes not so gently, that this was the easy time, this was the good time, the time to have fun and just enjoy yourself. But to me, their life seemed much more fun. No curfew, nobody telling them what to do and when ( I didn’t understand the concept of bosses) spending money on whatever they wanted, ahhh yes life was good.
Obviously, now I know the truth. But I know the truth because I have walked in their footsteps in my own time and my own journey. I have come to realize that it is likely no matter how many times I try impart my age old wisdom, the words will fall flat until they have traveled their journey. And then, they will look back and hopefully say ” man, mom and dad weren’t kidding. If I had only listened to them..” and the circle will repeat itself once again. So we have to realize that they are teens, and they are good teens, no matter how wacky they seem to us, they are good teens and they are God’s teens, given to him to complete the life they have laid out for them, and trust that they will follow in the way they were raised. Besides, 13 is a lot closer to 18, and I know that it is extremely likely that at least 2 of them will end up back in our home, but I pray they at least reach their big milestone of having job and getting paid, so I can get me some rent. The second unexpected milestone? Well you will have to stay tuned.