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Parents of Teens Let Them Be Young

A few years ago, I listened to my teenagers from behind the door. It’s where we are now in the world of parenting teens, right? No longer in the middle of their parties and fun…but still we long to know their joy.

So we stay close.

I had one ear open because a teenage sleepover was in progress (remember those?) and my sleep was light and easily disturbed.  

Just like when they were newborns I was up every hour on the hour, my eyes popping open to look in disbelief at the clock and really only dozing between times.

But unlike when they were newborns it wasn’t their crying that awoke me.

It was squeals of joy and shouts of craziness. It was music and chatting and the sound of tall kids running through the house and making pizzas and telling stories and waiting up to see the sun. And also from what I heard the next morning kids jumping on Sam’s trampoline.

I didn’t get up…I didn’t tell them to keep it down (because the whole family went to bed with noise-canceling earphones which my poor parents didn’t have to protect them from my teenage screeching). 

I listened from behind the door and I remembered.

I remembered trying to stay up all night with a big old group of my most favorite friends.

I remembered eating way too many Kruncher potato chips and Cool Ranch Doritos with sour cream, all washed down with Coke Classic. #childofthe80s

I remember whispered, heartfelt, middle of the night, talks with my buds, and sharing jokes only we would think were funny, laughing until we couldn’t breathe.

I remember dressing up as The Brady Bunch and renting a video camera to capture our antics (yes, rented a giant video camera…go ahead and laugh kids with smartphones).

I remember always being the loudest kid with the most cackling laugh and thereby the most likely to get us all in trouble and told to GO TO SLEEP for the night.

I remember being young…and having a night of dancing and fun and conversation that I wanted to last forever.

I remember thinking that it would.

But I blinked my eyes and I went from teenager to adult to mom. I blinked again and my babies went from babies to teenagers. I know the next I blink will make them official adults…applying for jobs and mortgages and taking on the world in yet another way.

And with adulthood comes responsibility and an aging belly that rejects middle-of-the-night potato chips and a brain that knows the need for a good night’s sleep.

So today we let our tall kids be young.

We go with their joy and silliness and cheer them on when they try and stay up to see the sun. And we let them fall asleep on the couch the next day as the world wakes up around them.

We make sure they’re as safe as we can and then we put in our earplugs…but we also take them out again every once in a while.

And we listen.

And we remember.

And we thrill to their joy.

And we’re so darn grateful to be a part of it even if it’s from behind the door.

Be Where Your Feet Are Sweatshirt