Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My last teenage year

I received a Twitter message from a friend of my daughter. It simply announced “I’m Nineteen today, my last teenage year” followed by a ’happy’ text smiley. Oddly, that message struck me with both sadness and joy, for this friend and of course my own kid who would soon be facing the same chronological marker.

I am thrilled on a number of levels. I can think back to my own youth and although you don’t know it at the time, you are as about as free as you ever will be. You are in that stage between being a kid not taken seriously, and an adult who is all too serious. You may work, but it has not yet likely become a career to which you and your bosses demand undivided loyalty and lifetime devotion. You still giggle for no reason and screw up but don’t feel sorry about it. Life is scary but in that ‘goosebump-inducing” ‘excitement of the unknown’ kind of way.

I am sad too because this time of freedom is oh so fleeting and nearly at an end. Suddenly nature takes its toll and soon you have a significant other involved in your affairs. Now the simplicity of doing even little things becomes more complex. Who’s parents do we see when; When can we meet that does not conflict with work schedules; What bills did you pay and what did you forget? You’re busy, so busy in fact that the years roll by and speed up with each turn of the calendar.

Now despite the tone, the message is not as it may first appear. Like most parents, my sadness is truly tempered with overwhelming awe and pride. Given all the pitfalls of life and the chances to be hit by cars, trees or the business end of sharp things – these kids have made it. Through all the high school drama, the (not so) friends who talked behind your back; the uninteresting teachers; the PE classes that you just could never quite make it to the top of the rope – it all doesn’t matter anymore. That’s old news now and an unlimited future is fervently knocking at the door.

As a parent, I stewarded my kid through all of it, just as my folks did for me, and their parents before them. We nurtured, taught, fought and cried, and got up the next day to do it all over again. We relished in every moment through the “last teenage year” and we’ll get up and cherish all others that follow, no matter how fleeting. We have done our jobs well and we’ll never be more proud of anything else we’ve ever done, or will ever do. :)

1 comment:

  1. How true this all is. Our hearts crack and heal, crack and heal, throughout their lives as we see them fall then get up and dust themselves down to do it all again.