No one warns you.
You’re just curling your hair and drinking coffee and trying to figure out if spaghetti squash is a thing when suddenly life lifts you up and spins you around and makes your heart flip because you discover that your kids are teenagers…
…and you haven’t buckled your seat belt.
You’re still filling sippy cups and replacing binkies and washing spit up out of your shirt.
And then one day you blink….
…and someone asks you for mascara.
I found this story in the archives when I was working on a project and I literally laughed out loud.
This one’s for the teenager in all of us. 🙂
After the twins were born, I stood in the middle of my living room one evening, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep with seven day hair, wearing pajamas covered in spit-up…
…and wailed plaintively to my mother.
“How can I do this?”
“I’m not going to make it.”
“They are totally winning.”
Then I wiped my face, brushed the hair away from my eyes, inhaled and exhaled several times and then stood patiently waiting for her words of wisdom. I mean, after all, my mother is brilliant and experienced and wise and….
…has never met a good piece of advice she didn’t like.
(total aside: I’m not sure how it’s happening, but my mother is getting smarter and smarter with every year that passes)
But for once, she didn’t say a word.
She just took one look at me and laughed.
And laughed some more.
Then she offered up this sage piece of wisdom that made my heart beat faster and my palms sweat and shivers run up and down my spine…
“This is nothing…just wait until they are teenagers.”
That was 12 years ago.
But I’ve never forgotten it.
Sometimes I would look at those cherubic faces and sweet smiles and tiny hands tucked into mine and bright blue eyes so full of wonder and joy. I’d listen to those little voices that chirped out the funniest things that made me laugh out loud….
….and think about what she’d said.
Was it possible?
Would they one day roll their eyes at me and say things like “Whatever” and “I am so sure” and toss their hair and stomp their feet…
…and demand a tattoo and jeans full of holes that cost $200.
And even though I worried, I thought I kept all these concerns to myself.
I thought I played it cool.
I mean, why borrow trouble? Why give anyone ideas about what might be ahead on the horizon? I wasn’t even sure they understood that sometimes being a teenager could be challenging for parents.
Until the other day.
The twins tromped into the kitchen whispering and laughing and hiding something behind their back.
“Umm..Mom? We have something we want to show you. Something to make you feel better. Something so you won’t worry.”
Two sets of twinkling blue eyes looked at each other conspiratorially and then smiled at me with mischievous grins and handed me a piece of paper.
“This is for you, Mom.”
It was a one-day-I’m-going-to-be-a-really-nice-teenager contract written on a purple piece of construction paper scrawled in their own handwriting that read:
“I promise you that I will try to be a good and nice teenager.
And if I am not…you may pull out this contract and show me.
I will try to be nice and kind to all people around me
and follow rules
and the ten commandments.
Thank you for your appreciation.”
And at the end, it was signed and dated.
Super official looking.
I wanted to laugh.
I wanted to cry.
I wanted to call my mother and tell her she was wrong….because the next couple of years would be a breeze.
I mean….seriously…..I had a contract, right?
But I didn’t pick up the phone.
I simply smiled and told them how proud I was and tucked that purple construction paper contract away in a drawer for safe-keeping.
After all, I want to be prepared in case someone turns 13….
….and decides to appeal. 🙂
PS When I wrote this story originally, they were 12.
They are 14 now and I still have the contract and so far, so good.
I haven’t had to pull it out once. 🙂
PPS I added a little thanksgiving inspiration in case you stop by here for the pictures.