While you're surviving the emotional and physical growth of your kids through the teen years, take a little time to smile at what's blossoming before you. Here are 10 things I'm missing about my girls.
- The smell of them. Shampoo, perfumes and lotions. My home was so girly when my girls were still home. I have a bathroom closet that still smells like a conglomeration of their “products”. I dread the day it stops, and I don't allow that door to hang open and let it dissipate.
- The music. Trendy, new and fresh, sometimes bawdy,. I miss the music, the entertainment news, the chores being interrupted with an outburst of wiggling butts, rock star faces and a can of Endust becoming a microphone.
- An honest answer to, “Does this look ok?” And frankly, someone who knows what looks OK, not that I'm insulting my husband, but when I walk around the house in shorts that expose my jiggly thighs – he's just happy I'm “showing some leg”. There's got to be some second guessing his fashion advice. And sometimes he doesn't even look before saying, “You look nice.” Teenaged girls NEVER do that.
- Shopping companions. With a promise of a stop at Taco Bell, there was always a girl willing to help me grocery shop, chat with me on the way there and through the store and home.
- Their holiday selves. Whether it was baking cookies, decorating the Christmas tree, watching the Thanksgiving parade, or helping me wrestle a slippery 22 pound turkey into a cooking bag – I loved getting ready for holidays with them.
- Makeovers and trends. Every so often a girl I sort of recognized would emerge from the bathroom with hair or makeup that took my breath away. Sometimes it was lovely, sometimes hysterical. And for trends? Well, you just never knew what a magazine article could inspire a house of females to do. There was one time we wrapped ourselves in Saran Wrap to see if we really would wake up with skinnier torsos. I woke up with a Saran Wrap belt, as it all wiggled to the middle, and no I wasn't skinnier. I think my husband lost a few pounds during his laughfest, but that was about it.
- The life their friends brought to our home. One boyfriend would call and play pranks on me, they were broke down with a flat tire 40 miles away so they'd be late. (actually sitting in our driveway) One who exchanged code names with me – I went by Penelope – I can't tell you his or I'd have to kill you. He's now my son-in-law. A girl who stayed with us a couple weeks while she sorted out issues with her mom and helped us feed a litter of orphaned kittens.
- Help with the litter box. (If I'm not going to be honest, what's the point?!)
- A sprawling mass of hair and long legs that would occasionally still plop herself onto my lap. (And that just made me cry, so I'm glad this list is almost over.)
- Companions in adventure. Whether it was Irish dancing on family night at Mullaney's Harp& Fiddle, a spontaneous “Let's try ice skating today” at a local park, watching Titanic a zillion times at the theater, touring the architecture of a nearby town, eating at a new restaurant, trying a new craft, or volunteering at a community meal... There was an eagerness to try new things and go new places.
It's easy to cover up the missing of them by remembering the ridiculous arguments over what the dentist said... EXACTLY, or the days when the entire world had more and did more than we did, or the lectures, or the normal tension of a young woman wanting to test the waters of the world and a mom trying to protect her – sometimes overly so, I'm sure. But the truth is – I'd trade anything to recapture a week of that time when my little birds were still in my nest.
If you've raised teenagers, what are your fondest memories?