A Teenager Now Lives Here

Today is a tough one for me. I know I am not alone when I say: Watching my oldest become a teenager is an odd feeling. (Yes, that is why there is a baby picture on here. I can’t stop looking through them.)

My heart is breaking and swelling with pride at the same time. Why can’t time stop going so fast? However, look at the girl she has become! Sadness. Pride. Tears. Smiles.

I feel like that is the part I missed when people gave me all the advice about being a parent.

“It goes so fast.” “Be present.” “Forget sleeping now.” “It’s hard.” “It’s the best thing in the world.”

What I didn’t know, as I spent all the early days praying for time to stop, is I was going to really love each step, each phase, in their lives. Do I wish she was a baby again? Sure, sometimes. However, more often than not, I love talking to her about books, movies, blogs, podcasts. I love when she tells me something so hilarious from her day, and she can’t get through a sentence.

I love when I tell her to do something, and she quips back in a sarcastic tone why she won’t. Don’t worry… she quickly does it before I can fully react. I love it, though, because I see her humor, her wit.

Of course, it is difficult when she fights with her sister, doesn’t want to be around us, and gets cranky as all get out. If you think about it, those are the times like when they are babies and they are screaming, crying, and you can’t get them to stop.

Our hair stylist has a newborn. Last night, she and I were talking about how fast it all goes. I wanted her to know, as it whips by, each phase is also great. Her response: “Sure, I guess each phase has its upsides and its downsides.”

Perfect. That’s it. Upsides and downsides. Take the good with the bad. And, believe me, the good is OH SO GOOD!

Time isn’t going to give us a break. The best we can do is find the good in each season of our lives.

I’m not going to lie. The season where the girls are out of the house will be a tough one on me… for sure!

I know, though, that if each phase can bring me such joy as I not-so-secretly ask for time to stop… I will find that joy in seeing them be the adults we hoped they could be.

Let’s slow that roll! I need the next 5 years to get ready for that feeling.

Today, as she navigates the hallways of middle school, I will spend the day reminiscing about the day she arrived.

Indulge me:

I remember the bright operating room, with a curtain in front of my face, when the red-headed doctor with a sweet voice said, “She’s here!”  I remember the room felt like love. Odd, I know, since the room was filled with medical equipment and bright lights. However, everyone in there was so excited. After an initial cry of frustration, she began to look around the room, as if to say, “What is this place?” Everyone was giggling as they talked about her.  Her red hair (that changed into Mommy’s blonde), her blue eyes, her tiny toes and fingers.

She was the very first light of mine and Jason’s lives. We couldn’t stop staring at her. In those moments, she was all ours.

I had reservations about being a mom. I just knew I would not be good at it. I was sure to fail. Then, the technician said we were having a girl. A GIRL?!?! No way can I raise a girl. This is not going to be good. What if I give her the childhood I had?

However, I was so wrong. Ok, well, not completely. I fail often in daily life with these girls. I am known to lose my stuff sometimes, uh many times.

But… man! Do I love them to pieces! I probably tell them too much. I don’t care.

Back to today:

I walked into her room this morning, with her little sister, and we belted out a dramatic version of “Happy Birthday!”. As we sang… me off-key, Red with a sweet voice.. she just beamed. We showered her with love in the middle of a room that had piles of clothes and stuffed animals strewn about it.

Love, inside a mess.

And to tonight:

We will celebrate the girl, uh hum, teenager she has become. We will share excitement for the next years of her life.  So much is out there for her to explore.

And, then, most likely, Mommy will end the day with a few more tears…

I mean, really, that is the secret to what happens when we become parents.

Tears and joy. Tears and joy. Sigh… more tears… and joy!

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