I don’t know about you, but when our kids were little, we used to look ahead to the teenage years with much fear and trepidation.
“They are so cute,” strangers would compliment our toddlers. Inevitably, they would then add,
“Just wait till they’re teenagers.”
If that doesn’t fill you with dread, I don’t know what will.
Well, today I am a parent of 13- and 15-year olds, and I can say with confidence that this is a really fun season around our household. Here are some top reasons why I love my teenagers:
1. They keep us up to date on pop culture
Honestly, if it weren’t for my kids, I’d still be listening to the BeeGees, wearing my mommy jeans with my permed hair and saying phrases like “Gag me with a spoon.” I’m grateful that they’ve helped me get a little more current in music and fashion.
2. They are actually helpful
Remember when they were toddlers and they wanted to help, but it took too much time and effort to enlist their help, so you just did it yourself? Well, now they are actually tall enough, strong enough, and smart enough to be of help. Meg does wonderful makeovers on me, and Josh updates the OS on my iPhone. They’re constantly teaching me something new.
3. I get to relive my high school years all over again
When I walk onto the high school campus to pick Josh up in the late afternoon, the sounds and smells flood me with memories of my own high school years. Add to the mix high school dances, student government elections, youth groups, and summer camps, and I find myself feeling like a teenager all over again…without the drama of puberty, of course.
4. I get to have fun embarrassing my teens
It’s so easy to make my kids blush around their friends — and, better yet, strangers — these days. Here is one example from when I was riding in the front of a trolley in Hawaii while the kids sat in the back, horrified to hear me humming along to the radio from up front:
Or, this interaction with Josh:
My kids really keep me laughing. They, however, don’t find the same level of humor in my mommy antics, but that’s half the fun.
5. We don’t have to plan, participate, and pay for expensive, themed birthday parties anymore
These days, my kids would rather just have a handful of good friends over for pizza and some games or go out to the mall for their birthday instead of a big bash at Chuckie Cheese’s, inviting the entire neighborhood and overpaying for entertainment. Glad that season is over!
6. Vacations are much more fun with teenagers
When our kids were babies, David and I basically took turns watching the kids in the room while the other stepped out to “enjoy” the vacation. It was physically exhausting to care for little kids while traveling, and we came home absolutely spent and needing a vacation afterwards. Today, we can enjoy excursions together or even separately, letting the kids make their own vacation memories.
7. Eating is much more varied and fun
For nearly a decade, our family went through a whole lot of mac-n-cheeses, pizzas, spaghetti, juice boxes, chicken nuggets, and Cheerios. Because David and I usually cleaned up the leftovers, we participated in a steady diet of kid foods for far too long. Our teens now eat a lot more sophisticated foods such as filet mignon, haritcot vert, and pesto pasta. We have good conversations around the table, and they also no longer throw food on the floor nor smear spaghetti all over their hair. Eating used to be such a messy event; now, they even help with the cooking and cleanup!
8. Best of all, we’re seeing the seeds of their own faith grow
All the years of taking them to church, reading the Bible together, and teaching them right from wrong are finally bearing fruit. We are watching them make smart choices and choosing good friends. Although they are still youths, we hope and pray that we have set them on the right course to a successful adulthood.
And that’s why we love having teenagers!