This past week the sunshine showed up.
It was perfect timing.
For us, it was the last day of school (from our living room) and the start of summer and picnicking and movie marathons and snowcones and late-night discussions in the back yard with marshmallows and chocolate and fireflies.
I almost cried a little as I just typed those words.
The last day of school as a junior.
And the start of the twin’s senior year.
Yes. It’s true.
SENIORS 2021 here we come.
I was cleaning out a box in the attic of all the twin’s school stuff to get ready for senior videos and senior announcements and all the things that go along with getting ready to let your last two chicks leave the nest. There, tucked among good neighbor certificates and fifth-grade math homework and faded flowers from an eighth-grade dance was a handwritten contract scrolled in hand-written cursive.
The best part?
Behind every good contract is a story—especially one good enough to tell again.
After the twins were born, I stood in the middle of my living room one evening bleary-eyed from lack of sleep with hair that hadn’t been washed in a week, 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 and brushed the hair away from my eyes, inhaled and exhaled several times and stood patiently waiting for her words of wisdom. I mean, after all, my mother is brilliant (and getting more brilliant with every year that passes) and experienced and wise….
….and has never met a good piece of advice she didn’t like.
But for once she didn’t say a word.
She just took one look at me and laughed.
And laughed some more.
And 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 that were full of wonder and joy. I’d listen to those little voices chirping out the funniest things that made me laugh out loud….
…..and think about what she 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 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.
When the twins trooped into the kitchen whispering and laughing and hiding something behind their back.
“Ummm….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.
“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 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 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….after all…..I had a contract, right?
But I didn’t.
I simply smiled and told them how proud I was and tucked that purple construction paper contract away in a drawer for safe-keeping.
Just between us.
I never needed that contract.
They’ve followed the kind rule and obeyed a few of the ten commandments and made me one of the proudest moms on the planet.
When their senior year is finished, I need them to write another.
One about phone calls from college.
And inviting us to parent’s day at school.
And promising not to forget me.
And understanding that if they ever need a safe place to land…
…I’ll always be home.
PS Have a little more coffee left?
And one more for the road. 🙂