My daughter turned thirteen last week. Turning thirteen is a big deal. It’s an official wave goodbye to childhood and a great big-
-to almost-adulthood. We don’t place a lot of fanfare around birthdays generally in our family. However, as each of our children has turned thirteen in turn, we celebrate this passage into teen-dom with a special trip designed just for them and their interests. The fun thing is, they don’t get any details about their trip until they are on the plane. Their destination is a closely guarded secret until that time.
Because my husband is a much more adventurous traveler, we have designated him as trip parent. Oh, I could do it, I guess, but I do believe the kids would generally have more fun with him. He’s so much better at navigating airports, securing rental cars, and finding the hotels. Not to mention chasing after adventure.
He has found that traveling with a new teen can be challenging.
Regardless of gender, thirteen-year-olds tend to be temperamentally unpredictable. They are also easily embarrassed, and often self absorbed, all of which serve to frustrate the travel parent.
Yet as we venture into teen-dom for the third time, we know that all of this is temporary and shall, too, pass. Thank goodness. It’s hard not to wish it all away right now. Just like I wished away those early sleepless nights full of feedings and diaper changes, or the temper tantrums of the preschool era. Then came the elementary school years full of science projects, spelling tests, and fractions. I couldn’t wait for middle school, until it came. Middle school gives new meaning to social awkwardness.
Now that three of my four kids are surfing through their teen years, I am holding ever tighter to my last child. I find that while I still don’t enjoy spelling tests or fractions, I don’t want to wish the time away. I want to savor every moment.
Each stage of parenting and child-rearing has it own frustrations, but they also hold their own joys. As parents we have to learn to live in the moment and realize that one day we’ll be empty nesters shuffling around an empty house looking for someone’s meat to cut up.
Motherhood has been my greatest blessing. My children are my most prized gifts. Yet I know that they have been given to me for only a short time. One day soon, they’ll fly away to pursue the path God has laid out for them. I can almost hear that clock ticking. On the one hand it saddens me, but on the other hand I am excited to see them soar and be all that God intends for them to be.
So whether our children are riding a bouncy seat, tricycle, bicycle or driving a car, we must relish every moment we are given as parents.
Let us pray for wisdom as we carry out this most precious assignment. Pray that God fixes all that we’ve managed to mess up today (He certainly can!), and that He gives us the ability to do better tomorrow. (He can do that, too…)