Saturday, June 9, 2012

Our Recent Whirlwind

Think back, kids. To when you were fourteen and an endless summer stretched between one of the most exciting times in your short life - the start of High School. What was the most important thing going in your life then?

Sleeping in and staying up late had to be near the top of the list. Probably followed by a sport or two. Vacations? For sure. Certainly friends and acceptance by the challenging teenage peer group was prioritized somewhere in there. Maybe continuing to master a musical instrument or another extracurricular activity, such as drama or art. Filling days with activities to "keep you busy" - afternoons at the pool, hanging out with friends, outdoor barbecues, baseball games, and the occasional carnival or street fair.

Things have been busy around here lately. Really busy. We have a fourteen year old in our home, and her life's been a whirlwind the past few months.

Therefore, we've all had a whirlwind of a May and June.

It all started the first weekend in May with what they call "Spring Fling." I love this. It's a dress-up dance, but not on a Friday night requiring schlepping by the parents and overpriced meals at local restaurants. It's not a free-for-all at Great America where they run around like wild monkeys while you pray they don't get caught in gangbanger crossfire. It's in the middle of the school day, busses transport them to a local golf club for brunch and dancing, then they're deposited back at school in order to arrive home at the normal time. Perfect, and age-appropriate.

Dress shopping fulfilled what I'd hoped for someday when they told me in the hospital "It's a girl!" and I choked back a sob. While traipsing through dozens of stores and trying on scads of dresses, I relived so many exquisite moments with my own mother, but this time I enjoyed sitting back in wonder at this creation of mine as she searched for the perfect dress. It was with a grateful exhale that the uniform of jeans, solid colored t-shirt and hoodie of fifth and sixth grade morphed into a more sophisticated and (thank you, God) conservative slant toward fashion. And gratefully, it's a return to all things feminine and...

Her friends are adorable. Their words and actions are unfiltered around me, which is the greatest compliment a mother of a teenager can ever hope to achieve.
I love them like they are family, and tell them to grab a broom when they spill or break things. Which happens often. My own klutzy daughter attracts the same in her friends.

I'm growing accustomed to the challenges that living with a teenager brings. The eye rolls, the surly attitude, the exasperating sighs, the defensive posturing on my nearly forty years of life experience. I am truly learning the art of patience and battle choosing. Learning to give a little or a lot of latitude, depending on the importance of the issue. And in some cases? No latitude at all.

But despite the constant push/pull between mother and teenager, she talks to me. So far, about almost anything and everything. And I always answer honestly. To her, I will always Genuinely Speak.

And I'm grateful, and blessed, and confident that God has her heart. She was also confirmed in May.

We are not big on birthday parties around here. Or on 8th Grade "Promotion" parties. But on Confirmations? We go this huge.

Family and friends joined us to celebrate this amazing young woman as she pledged to have a lifelong relationship with Christ.

She may have perfected the art of eye rolling and mastered the skill of keeping a room messy,

but she also steals my heart every day and makes me very, very proud to call her Daughter.


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