Raising Teens (Actually a Teen and a Preteen): So Far, So Good

by MomGrind

rebellious teenagerMy two girls are growing older, and I’m loving every minute of it.

“Will you have another one? You still could” I am asked once in a while. At forty one, yes I still technically could, and I guess I’ll continue to hear this question for 3-4 more years before it finally stops. I could have one more baby, but I don’t want to.

I know I’ve blogged about my fear of the future, in fact I blogged about it more than once. As a fairly anxious person, I like knowing where things stand, and I like to be in control. Of course, control is an illusion, and as life progresses, things keep changing and you learn for yourself how little control you really have.

So I’ve blogged about my desire, as a classic control freak, to have things stay the way they are, and about my reluctance to watch my kids grow and drift away, first emotionally, then physically, as they move out and embark on their independent lives.

But maybe it’s time for me to blog about how wonderful it is, to watch my little girls grow into little women. How amazing I find the journey, and thankfully I’m still part of their journey, they still allow me into their lives, their thoughts, their dilemmas. I am still summoned whenever there’s a social crisis, and my advice is still requested when it comes to new (for them) and baffling issues such as how to deal with body hair, which inevitably leads to fascinating discussions on why do we still have that stupid hair if we’re not monkeys anymore, and on why are women required to remove leg hair and men are not.

I love my conversations with them. At the ages of 13 and 11, they have this fresh perspective and lots of curiosity, they notice things and stop to question them, just the way I did when I was their age. I like that they make me think. Of course, I also enjoy fun activities such as shopping together – the older one wears about the same size as I do, and going to the movies. We can now go to many chick flicks together, and I am no longer confined to kids’ movies, which is a huge relief.

As one would expect, at these ages they are very independent. Thinking back to what it takes to raise a baby, a toddler, a small child, the very thought of the physical labor involved makes me tired (not to mention the broken sleep).

As a family, we like to travel, and we do travel several times each year – this year we’ve already been to several ski trips, to Hawaii, and more trips are planned, to North Carolina, Alaska, Israel, and LA. Doing all this with two older girls is so easy. We don’t even check luggage – we each pack our own small carry-on and off we go. I can’t imagine doing this with a baby (and her 10,000 extra diapers) in tow.

So I think I can safely say that as far as my husband and I are concerned , our family is complete. I love the way things are, and while I realize there’s no way to freeze us all exactly where we are at this moment, I am also less afraid of the future. Sure, as they grow they *will* detach more, as they should, and we will no doubt face teenage-rebellion-type challenges as every family does. But hopefully we’ve built a solid enough base of love and respect that things won’t get too bad, and that they’ll eventually come back.

Despite the threat of detachment, I do so look forward to seeing my daughters fully mature and become grown women. It’s one of life’s biggest pleasures, watching one’s kids grow and thrive, and now I know that this applies not just to small kids, but to older children too.

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