It’s funny how the month of September and the “back to school” spirit inspires expectations for beginnings and change. This year, however, my tweenagers have been demonstrating the signs of change more than ever. Partly because they are now both in high school but mostly because they are now BOTH IN HIGH SCHOOL.
Considering it is one thing. Living it is something else.
And the cherry on top of the fact that my kids are growing up is the reality that we live in a different world today. Social media sites, QR codes, iPads . . . None of these existed when I was their age.
Whereas I used to purposely NOT walk with my mother when shopping (gods forbid I should be seen with a parent – in public!), my kids are unfriending me on Facebook.
The signs of our kids growing up doesn’t stop with technology. Frequent – LONG – showers are another dead giveaway.
Once upon a not-so-long-time-ago I would have to practically scare my kids to take a shower (“if you don’t wash regularly, certain parts of your body will either fall off or become home to visible parasital entities”). Suddenly I have to BEG them to leave some hot water for me.
The recent must-have beauty products are also a good sign of maturity in the self-awareness department. The day before school pictures were to be taken, Samantha made me stop at the pharmacy to get some sort of spray-on hair tamer. (Apparently her hair is impossible to control now.)
And then there’s the sudden growth spurt. Just the other day I turned around to say something to Jon (formerly known as JONATHAN) and he and I were both shocked into how tall he’s gotten – I swear this happened overnight! He thought it was funny. I laughed with him – but really, I just felt small (and old).
The latest trend in new words indicates that your kids now have other sources of influence. For example, did you know that the word “congratulations” can be said with about seven different intonations, including sarcasm and belittling?
Me: Whose turn is it to empty the dishwasher?
Kid #1: I did it last time.
Kid #2 to Kid #1: Congratulations.
Kid #1: I’m finished my homework.
Kid #2: Congratulations.
Me: I need someone to help me take out the recycling bin.
Kid #1 and/or Kid #2 to me: Congratulations.
(Wherein kid #1 and kid #2 are interchangeable. Like the pieces of a Mr. Potato Head toy.)
I have to admit, the evidence of my kids changing into that alien phase of teenagedom doesn’t always induce an uncomfortable, teeth-gritting experience. There’s good stuff too.
Like when they suddenly do something randomly nice – like vacuum the basement or decide that they’re able to change the turtle water on their own now. (Which of course incites me into an exercise in trying not to let the mess they create taint their good intentions.)
Lately, we even have CONVERSATIONS. Cool conversations, where I get to learn about their unique opinions on things.
So while my kids are now both in high school, I can honestly say “so far, so good”.
(If you pray regularly, feel free to pray that we get through the next five years. I have a feeling it won’t always be this . . . uneventful.)