Friday, February 3, 2012

The Last of the Teens

Happy Birthday, Four. I'm glad I'm your mother.

When I was a girl growing up I knew I wanted a big family of my own. Lots of babies--I loved babies. I never thought much about anything past the baby stage, though.

I didn't think about having toddlers or children. Most of all I deliberately didn't think about having teenagers, because I  had heard older parents talking and I read the child-rearing section of the newspaper. Saying I wanted to have teenagers was practically like saying I wanted to have chronic migraines.

Even when I became a mom, and it was wonderful (albeit exhausting), well-meaning friends warned me about the years to come. "You may think it's hard now, with two in diapers and three with asthma, and with the three meals a day plus snacks, and laundry all the time. JUST WAIT UNTIL THEY'RE TEENAGERS." I could hear the ominous "duh-duh-duuuuuuh" notes unsung in the background.

I loved my babies, all cuddly and sweet-smelling, and thought "I'll never like a stage more than I like this." Then I loved my toddlers and their growing personalities and thought "I'll never like a stage more than this." When I had young school-agers, and we loved the same books and could watch World Cup soccer together, I thought "I'll never like a stage more than this."

Then they became teenagers. Yes, each one of them went through a completely unlikable year, but once that year was over, I began to enjoy my teenagers. They had opinions, some of which challenged my own beliefs. They made me laugh. They worked hard, when they needed to. They had smart, nice, funny friends. Also, they could take their own baths, carry in groceries, and sense when they needed give their mother a hug and when they needed to back the heck off and leave their mother alone.

Today is Boy#4's birthday and as of today we don't have any more teenagers. While I'm sure I'm experiencing parenthood amnesia (childbirth amnesia's more long-lasting counterpart), I look back on the Boys' teenage years with fondness. They were good years.

I'll never like a stage more than that.


  1. Such a nice post. I was just thinking the other day about how each stage is my new favorite!

  2. Happy Belated B-day to Boy #4. Can't believe it's been 20+ years since we moved from the neighborhood!

  3. I love this. My kids are all 8 and under, but I so look forward to watching the baby self melt away and reveal the adult inside. It's why I wanted to be a mother.

  4. Anonymous, when they're adults you'll also see glimpses of the children they were, and it will make you smile. It's a wondrous process.