We Have a Teenager!

It's so hard to believe we've entered this stage of parenting, but the day has finally come that we have a bonafide teenager under our roof and in our hearts. Last week Lily turned 13! 

It's surreal having children who are the ages that you remember being. That they're now old enough to stay up as late as us, watch the same movies as us (for the most part), join us in deep discussions and with whom we share interests and hobbies. Indeed, they and we are getting old. And you know what? It's better than I ever could have imagined. 

So much of the dread that society and even other parents have placed on this stage of parenting is ill founded. Much like the terrible twos, the newborn stage, or any other demanding season, of course there will be (and already have been) unique challenges. And unique blessings. Watching Lily's relationship with God develop into her own has been a sweet thrill. Seeing her taste and interests sharpen is really cool to see. Talking with her for hours (and I mean hours) is stimulating and I feel our friendship growing deeper as we both age. I'm convinced that these years are dear, if we'll let them be. 

I love watching our oldest girl grow in independence, and how city-living allows so many opportunities to spread her wings. I love how she's still an avid reader and though a social butterfly, she doesn't hassle us to let her on social media (linked to this, I admire her maturity). She's a babysitter extraordinaire, generous with her siblings and friends, quick to laugh, still so playful and yet already so wise. 

Given her recent birthday I've heard dozens of  the classic remark upon discovering one has a teenager. "Good luck with that!" or "my condolences!" with the knowing eye roll. I'm new to the teenage parenting bit, but I've been saying the same thing to everyone, "she really is a great kid!" and "we're loving it so far!" trying not to be too smug. The truth is, it's much harder than previous stages because we have less and less control and we allow more and more independence. Teens aren't in bed by 7pm and don't take quiet times or naps so their parents can regroup. Their clothes and bodies take up so much more space and yes, the grocery bill is a good $50 more than it was a couple years ago. What small prices to pay to raise your friend and sister, and see that they're exceeding your every wish. 

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