Thirteen years ago, as I looked into the beautiful face of my newborn daughter I could not picture her with hair and teeth. That she could someday be a tall, lanky teenager seemed as unbelievable as time travel. Now, somehow, it seems both have come true. Somehow, time has traveled a million times faster than I ever thought possible and my newborn is 13 years old (and almost taller than me). I lived through those first few months when we got no sleep and she cried for no reason, and the toddler years with their unreasonable emotions and loud violent temper tantrums, and the experience of potty training, when life was measured by how long it had been since the last accident. I’ve helped her through loose teeth, and learning to ride a bicycle, and memorizing times tables. I’ve been through her first sleep over at a friend’s house, and watching her get braces put on her teeth and then taken off again. I survived her pre-school years when she was away from me for hours doing all sorts of new and exciting things that I was not a part of, and a few years later, her first days of home schooling when she no longer went anywhere without me and, all of the sudden, I was responsible for whether or not she was properly educated.
And now, I stand on the edge of parenting through the teenage years.
I’ve been told that this is the time when formerly agreeable, pleasant children become moody and sullen, when obedient little angels become disrespectful know-it-alls, when emerging independence collides with an attitude of self-importance and life becomes a battle of the wills like no other time before. I’ve been told the teenage years are God’s way of preparing us to let our children go out into the world and make their own way. That the battles, and struggles, and difficulties of growing up all come to a head and after all of it, we are ready to see them off and wait with baited breath to see who they will become. Right now, the vision of that beautiful little newborn is still so vivid in my mind, I cannot imagine ever getting to that day… but I guess this is where it starts....
Today, my baby is a teenager.
I don’t know if I am ready for this, or if she is for that matter, but here we are. She is still very sweet, still very innocent, still willing to hang out with her mom and share a laugh or talk with me in her room at bedtime as I tuck her in or listen to my advice on what she should wear or how she should fix her hair or what she and her friends should do for fun. I wish I could freeze time and keep her little just a little while longer, but time doesn’t freeze. It travels. Quickly. So quickly.
It may not be easy, but I hope and pray I will enjoy her teenage years and cherish the time as I get to witness her transition from a beautiful little girl to an even more beautiful young woman. Like her childhood so far, it is sure to be an adventure, with ups and downs and twists and turns. And, I hope, a million more moments worth savoring and delighting in.