We’ve had a teenager staying with us for a couple of weeks now and let me just say that it was a shake up.
First of all, she’s a “she” which is quite different from having 2 “he’s”. Hers is a world of making matching tie-dye bandanas with her best friend and taking selfies showing off her various hair styles. It’s a world of nail polish and emoji’s and the mall.
She’s 14 so she’s not a kid, but she’s also not an adult. It’s a fine line to walk for both her and us.
Even though she’s on vacation, we are still who we are so she has chores and the tutor who comes (yes, even during the summer) to work with our boys has been helping her also.
We monitor social media posts to make sure they are age appropriate and try to find the sweet spot between outfits that are cute and trendy but not too “grown”. We still have to tell her to clean up her room – all while talking about crushes and suicide and drugs and abortions and STD’s*.
One minute we are in the throws of peer pressure to smoke and the next thing you know we are painting toe nails and singing songs from High School Musical and drinking strawberry milk.
Being a teenager hasn’t changed. When she writes, she decorates her pages with hearts and the dots over her i’s are big circles (to look cute).
Yet, teenagers nowadays are living a totally different existence than the one I lived. It’s scary. They have too much access to things they are not mentally equipped to handle. There is so much pressure to be raunchy. Thanks to the few who have turned bad publicity into lucrative careers, things that my friends and I would have thought were scandalous have become “goals”.
Her time with us is coming to an end. I will miss her a lot and I’m sure the boys will too. It’s been a joy seeing her have fun and experience new things.
We’ve laughed a lot. In addition to Fun Land and the river, we’ve played board games and Uno and been to a water park. Shaunie and I were even able to go on a mid-week date since we had a babysitter. She’s been VERY tolerant of Ace and all his talking and she’s been completely unphased by Jay and his moods. Her and the boys have developed a relationship where they trust her and love hanging out with her while they watch TV, but they fight over who has to sit in the middle seat in the car.
The 3 of them ganged up on Shaunie to tease her about being scared to go down the big slide and they really get a kick out of it any time her and I make fun of each other.
Having 3 kids means more. More fun and more laughs and more hugs and more “I love you’s”, but also more money and more mess and more tiredness. Kudos to you guys who have 3 or more kids. It’s a JOB.
Taking it all into consideration though, she’d be welcome back at any time.
We are on the cusp of having full time teenagers and I can only imagine what things will be like when my boys get to be the age she is now. Based on what we saw over the past 2 weeks with regards to the topics of conversation, I’d love to think that it is far away but the fact is that it is less than 3 years away.
Having her has been …. eye-opening, and interesting, and scary, and helpful, and heart stopping, and a breath of fresh air, and tiring, and a treat.