Things That are Awesome About Teenagers: A Comprehensive List

 I’ve noticed that more often than not when I get a compliment on my kids these days it is kind of coated in pleasant surprise that we all actually still like each other now that they are 16 and 13.  We’re right in the thick of the teenage years and I’m realizing that a lot of people are terrified by the thought.  Honestly I was one of them at one time.  I think that there’s this misconception out there that these years are destined to be full of angst and slammed doors and, well I’m just gonna’ say it…moody, hormonal assholes.  But I’m here to tell you that isn’t true.  

I mean, okay maybe that’s sometimes true.  But they usually forgive me.  Badump bump.

Lean in and let me tell you a secret that is not often told: The teenage years can be really, incredibly awesome.  I’d even go so far as to say this is my favorite phase of parenthood yet.  Well, at least tied with that sweet, chubby, laughing baby phase. 

Things That are Awesome About Teenagers: A Comprehensive List

1.  A teenager will NEVER wake you up at twenty til the buttcrack of dawn asking for Cheerios after she has kept you up all night insisting with a pouty lip that she needs to immediately watch The Little Mermaid for the eleventy-millionth time WITH YOU.

2.  Teenagers want to sleep in their own rooms…nay, in their own beds in a weird teenage blanket-burrito formation that keeps all their limbs neatly tucked in and will make you wonder why they didn’t sleep burrito style like that all the times they kept sneaking into your bed and somehow simultaneously stuffing one foot in your ear and another firmly in your crotch  while you prayed, “Just two solid hours of sweet, sweet sleep please God please.”

3.  If a teenagers spill something they can clean it up they dang selves.  What what.

4.  Teenagers do not demand to be carried, say, from the furthest point in the mall all the way to the car at the end of the parking lot.  They will willingly walk.  Unimaginable while you’re stuck in the toddler phase, isn’t it?  And even if they do get a little tired and over it, I have found that you can get them moving again by telling them that you think you saw a Starbucks near the entrance on the way in.  

5.  You can share shoes and sometimes clothes.  I mean, they’ll always look better in them but let’s not focus on that.  This is a happy list.

6.  Teenagers can have actual meaningful conversations with you.  You know those days when you think that if you don’t get some grownup talky-time with someone who, say, doesn’t let their own nose drippings flow directly into their mouth that you might die by your own hands?  Boom!  You’ve got it!  Your teenager has real grownup thoughts and opinions on politics and religion and pop culture and love and there will be times when you will be stunned by the maturity and wisdom that just came out of the same mouth that just asked you how you tell if muffins look “done.”  

7.  If they have a booger you can tell them and they’ll just, like, go handle that.

8. You can leave them home alone and go run errands, or get a pedi, or have a date night with your husband and not have to get a babysitter or worry that they might drown in a five-gallon bucket or stick their finger in a socket.  I know, that’s a revolutionary thought right now, isn’t it?   And moms everywhere shouted “FREEDOMMMM!”

9.  You realize that they are really growing into becoming their own person.  Not a mini-you.  Not a mini-him.  A separate, beautiful, independent and amazing person.  There will still be shadows and whispers of you and your spouse, to be sure, but there will be impressive and wonderful things there that you can take no credit for (believe me, I’ve tried. Nobody bought it) and you will marvel at them. This is when you realize your offspring aren’t merely little reflections of you, and that if you treat them as such you’re doing them a huge disservice (Btw, if you’re still doing that, stop it. Stop it now).  

10.  Once they are 16 they can go to the grocery store for you when you forget the milk.  I don’t really feel like this one needs to be expanded upon.  It’s that obviously awesome.

I think that pretty much sums it up, but I reserve the right to add to this list often over the next several years.  

Don’t fear the teenager, young moms.  And meanwhile appreciate those other stages too, because as much as I’m enjoying the now I don’t know that we ever stop longing for the yesterday too.  I guess that’s just part of it, isn’t it? 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Waiting

 Todd Anderson: Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.

John Keating: [some of the class start to laugh] Forget them, forget them! Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket!

Todd Anderson: Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying t-to the moment we leave dying, it’ll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream…

 

It’s kind of been a week of bad news, hasn’t it?  It seems like bad things happen in clusters, and for many this week has been one giant cluster.  From the horrific atrocities in the middle east to loss of a beloved celebrity to struggles of family and friends, it has just been one if those times when you can’t help but be painfully aware that this world just is not as it should be.  This is a broken and dirty and diseased world, and creation is groaning under the weight of it all.  This is not what we were created for.

I saw it written somewhere this week that all around us in this world we see Christ’s crucifixion.  You know, metaphorically speaking.   It’s true.  Look around and you don’t have to search far for what appears to be death’s victory over us and evil towering over our hopes and attempting to crush our hearts.  It can be oppressive and thick in the air around us at times and I can understand why some might start to feel abandoned and angry.  I can see how others can feel hopeless and defeated.

But what I want to tell you is that if we keep looking we can also see evidence of what this world was meant to be and what it will be again.  We see the creation.  We see the resurrection.  It’s all around us too, if we just keep our faces turned upward.  In reality death is the dirty, insufficient shroud trying to hide that fact and smother us with hopelessness, but it’s not nearly sufficient for the task. Even though this week I’m faced with the reality that sometimes death wins the battle, I hold tight to the fact that the war is already won.  We have been given the privilege of a glimpse at the end of the book so I already know how this story resolves, friends, and it is with a victory.

…but it can be hard in the middle chapters sometimes. Creation cries out for its Creator as it bears the weight of it all and here we are in the waiting, where people are sick and children are being murdered and our favorite sweet clowns are succumbing to their inner pain.

When we feel covered by the dark shroud, or when relief from the pain is like that short blanket that just won’t cover? I think we just persevere, and we pray, and we cling to our God and we love each other.  We try our best to make things easier for each other when we can.  We laugh when it seems unreasonable to do so (shout out to Robin).  We act kindly and tenderly to each other even when anger seems more justified.  Because the rest is in more powerful hands and because in the end of the story, we know that love and grace cover all.

 

 

50 Shades of Twilight

I’m about to say something that is going to upset some of you.

I mean, I’m not looking to break any hearts or anything.  I just call ‘em how I sees ‘em and sometimes some things just need to be spoken.

Alright, ready?  Here goes:

Fifty Shades of Gray is basically Twilight, but with kink in place of vampirism. *

Except, you know, by basically I mean exactly.  As in, if I were the author of Twilight, I’d be contacting my lawyers and rubbing my hands together Mr. Burns-style, ’cause somebody would be writing mamma a big ol’ plagiarism check.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s review our best-selling novel recipe:  You have a stunningly beautiful yet somehow socially invisible girl who crosses paths with a devastatingly handsome yet emotionally unavailable/dangerous guy who warns her to stay away because he’s so emotionally damaged/unavailable/dangerous, but she just can’t.  There’s also the great guy in the wings who loves her but who I suppose is not an option based on his boring tendency to not take her immortal soul/beat her til she bleeds, the few same disinterested friends, and the same set of completely uninvolved yet endearing parents.  There’s tons of money/fast cars/private planes/incredible homes which serve to make the dangerous guy mire mysteriously alluring.  There’s the transformation by which the heroine only becomes fully secure and beautiful once she becomes what she needs to become in order to be with him.  There’s something/someone who threatens to take the devastatingly handsome/dangerous/unavailable man away.  And just as a super-fun kicker, we find out that our supposed heroine teeters between being literally unable to function without him and snarling  like an insecure turd any time this blissful relationship is threatened.

I don’t get it.

It’s kinda’ gross when you think about it.  Is this some sort of recipe that just appeals to that many women?  I didn’t get it with Twilight, and I don’t get it with Fifty.  Were I Bella, I’d have run off with Jacob (I’m pretty used to the shedding anyway).  If I were…what’s her face from 50 Shades, I’d be married to the nice guy friend who never stood a chance based on his…what was it?  His regard for her as a human being rather than a possession maybe?  The fact that she was certain he probably wouldn’t kill her the minute they were alone?  I dunno’.

Most people would assume that if someone is going all Judgey McJudgeypants on this novel it would be because of the sex, but on my list of issues with this novel the kinky sex doesn’t even rate. If you’re into that thing, fine I guess, I ain’t mad atcha’ (although if someone I was involved with became so violent and scary that I ran traumatized from the room, the term “deal-breaker” doesn’t even come close to being sufficient).  You do your thing, girl.  Different, uh…strokes for different folks and all that.

The more disturbing thing to me is this pattern that the books share, and what it says about us that this is what’s being sold to us as exciting and romantic.  It’s that we are being sold the idea that a relationship where you are willing to take a beating or literally lose your eternal soul just to be with a guy as dreamy that bothers me.  The the chapter where they’re separated so the girl stares out of her window practically in a coma for a season or three being sold to us as something romantic.  The idea that the girl runs from a lifestyle that terrifies her only to run right back as proof of an undeniable love or some unbreakable bond.  The lie that a girl can be responsible for soothing the broken soul of a jealous and possessive man with unconditional love and/or unconditional sex.  Those things are problems for me.  Those things are problems for me as a woman, and they’re problems for me as a mother of daughters.

So what’s my point, I guess you’re asking.  I’m not saying you should feel guilty if you have read them and got a kick out of them.  I’m reallyreally not.  I’m just saying, recognize what these books are saying once you get past the titillating bits and pieces.  Don’t buy into the message of the dysfunctional relationship with handsome jealous/abusive guy as what love is supposed to look like.  That’s all I ask.  Because it’s super not.

I’m just gonna’ hop down off my soap box now.

 

*  I realize there are some of you who are all, “And? Twilight was awesome literature, what’s your point?” and to those I say, “Go away, I cannot speak to you.”  Twilight was a fun little thing that happened and yes I read them too and even saw one of the movies, but it’s time for us to move on and admit reality, girls…and middle aged women with Edward tshirts.