Oh look, a squirrel!

I had an idea that the teenage years might be hard when my oldest daughter turned 13. We were on the road…my mom was driving and Angel was in the backseat. Angel asked us, “Did either of you have sex before you got married”? I choked on my spit while my mom almost drove off the road.

Oh look, a squirrel!

Awkward silence filled the air..You see, my mom and I never really talked about those kind of things..Growing up, my friends never had those conversations with their parents either.

I remember my mom sitting me down for ‘the talk’ when I was 12. I learned about sex from a friend when I was in kindergarten..I laughed uncomfortably and walked away…it was too late, I already knew..

Paul and I decided to be open with our kids about difficult topics and they have been particularly candid with us. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worthwhile..

When my kids were young, I thought they would always stay that way. I didn’t understand why parents of teens seemed to forget how much work it was to go anywhere with a toddler or how tiring it was to stay up half the night with a fussy baby..They always said things like…enjoy it while it lasts, soon they will be teenagers…I thought their comments were cold and callous…didn’t they remember how hard it was?

Now I have teenagers and I understand. I feel like I will be the parent of teens forever. I still don’t sleep at night..

I hear empty nesters say…enjoy it while it lasts, soon you will return to a silent empty house..

It was homecoming not too long ago..I took pictures of Alex and his girlfriend Baylee. It felt strange because not too long ago I was at the same location taking pictures of Angel and Mitch…They broke up this year after dating 3 1/2 years. Mitch is now a junior in college..It did go by fast, didn’t it?



It seems like I was running around the whole homecoming weekend…I sold tickets for the football game and watched my son play for pep band during halftime. Afterwards, I received a call from my son telling me that he appreciated that I was there. Was something wrong? Did he need money?? No, he was just showing that he cares.

I have been upset with him about going to the party in the cabin for so long now that you are all probably sick of the story. Seriously, what teen would give up a weekend at a cabin without adults and with a seemingly endless supply of liquor??

I was angry at the girl that decided to throw a party that trashed her grandma’s cabin until recently. I found out that her parents divorced in June but are still ‘together’. Her grandpa died in June…it was a hard time and her daddy didn’t leave. Her mom got into a bad accident in July and needed help…her daddy didn’t leave..Her mom got better, then the girl threw a big underage drinking party creating so much stress that…you guessed it…her daddy didn’t leave..Maybe I understand her motives now…

My son didn’t have a party at our house nor at his grandparents cabin. He helps my parents with their yard work and turns down the money they offer him.

The other day my son said that he didn’t really care about his grades because this is the only time that he has to be young and have fun without responsibilities. Besides, he said, the most successful people in his life screwed up in high school.

My brother Luke has a wildly successful career. He was a complete screw off in high school, a million times worse than my son..My husband is another, he flunked out of high school Chemistry and had to take summer school. His grades were so bad in college that he had to take a semester off. Then he turned his life around. Now he is a successful business owner…But son, I could’ve been so much more if I applied myself  just doesn’t seem to cut it.

His role models of success showed him that what he does at this time of his life really doesn’t matter in the long run. I can almost understand his logic. But what he doesn’t know is how difficult their home lives were and the obstacles that they had to overcome.

This summer my son worked for a flooring company full-time. He had to get up in the morning at the time when many of his friends were going to bed. It was physically hard dirty work. He wanted to quit many times, but kept going.. He is a hard worker and that will get him far in life.

He is also a loyal guy…he has had the same girlfriend for almost a year and a half. Baylee is absolutely wonderful and we love her. A couple of months back I overheard a boy talking about a girl he was planning on hooking up with to his seemingly disgusted mother…Since when did previously taboo subjects become public conversation?? I was mortified. Hello, I am right here!

I had another opportunity to feel thankful for my teens’ fondness for long term relationships.

We have had struggles with our son over the years..I was talking to a friend lately commiserating about our teens like they probably do about us. She said something that stuck…Has he improved over the last few years? I felt better because he has improved immensely. Look at how far he has come.

A few months ago, I had to give that same friend a call about her daughter. My youngest daughter opened up to me and told me that her friend was very depressed. Please call her mom and ask her to get help..

I have not found one person that told me the teenage years have been a breeze. If you do tell me that then a) you are lying, b) you need to write a book on how you did it because obviously you have everything figured out, or c) you weren’t there.

Yesterday my 14 year old daughter asked while I was driving…Would you be mad at me if I decide to have sex in high school or would you put me on the pill?

Oh look, a squirrel!

I have to remember that soon I will be returning to an empty house.


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