Monday, January 7, 2013

the awesome years

We are three months away from officially being the parents of a real, live teenager.

For some reason, it seems like we've been in the midst of teenager-hood for years.  After all, our said almost-teenager has had a flair for the dramatic for going on, lets see. . .I'd say about twelve years and nine months.  When she turned eleven, Courtney took to calling her our "eleven-ager". 

My mom often says how much fun teenagers can be.  The energy, their sense of humor, the crazy ideas.  She says she loved those years.  I might add that I sometimes think she's looking back with rose colored glasses, because I was one of those teenagers.  I'll just lay it out on the table here.  I remember how I acted a lot of the time, and believe me-  I wasn't always "so much fun".  Take me, and times it by six.  There were six of us, and although I love my brothers and sisters with all my heart, I remember how they acted too.  (They weren't always so much fun, either).  And so, after living through us, how is that she remembers those years so fondly? 

The other night Courtney and I were tired.  We've had a house full of sickies for days.  Lots of family time, if you know what I mean.  Which also means we didn't get our Friday night Hot Date.  Needless to say, we were looking forward to climbing into a warm, soft bed and calling it a day.  When who should our wondering eyes appear, but a twelve year old girl with a whole lot to say?  She was as excited/insistent on sleeping in our room as we were adamant that she didn't. 

Turns out, she won.  So we lay there in the dark laughing at her funny comments and pretending to gross her out with kissing noises.  She and her dad bantered back and forth.  It was actually kinda fun.  So much so that in a moment of quiet, she piped up with, "See Dad, aren't you glad we decided to have a sleepover?" (with her best teenage sarcasm enthusiasm). 

I smiled then, and I've smiled a hundred times since.  After all, it was a pretty fun sleepover.

This morning, my friend sent me a text with a note to read this post from the blog Daring Young Mom.   I loved it.  I loved how this amazing mom spoke of listening to the kind, empowering voice inside ourselves, instead of the negative, "you're not good enough" one we too often choose to hear.  In her bright, cheerful way, she encouraged us to watch for those moments when we shine, give ourselves a "way to go" and allow a "drop of awesome" into our bucket.  She explains that the more she watched for and acknowledged her own good choices, the more she filled her bucket, and in the process became more confident in her ability to do/be good.  I loved it.  I loved her idea for me, and I loved the way I thought about it in terms of my children. 

She wrote, "As I added up these Drops of Awesome, I found that in those moments I actually became the person I had always wanted to be.  . .in the end, it's really about allowing yourself to feel joy and allowing yourself to be proud of the small victories of life.  This builds momentum and you want more drops in your bucket and when you don't get as many, you pick yourself up and say, 'What can I do next?'"

Today, I've been thinking about this and how it relates to the way I see my children, especially as we enter this teenager stage.  It is easy for me to focus on the drops of grouchiness, or the drops of selfishness that I may see.  But what if I change what I'm looking for?  How many drops of awesome am I missing?  How many great opportunities and exciting adventures will I lose out on if I'm being a tired, old scrooge?  That sleepover the other night?  That was a drop of awesome.  Really!  And there is a gazillion more where that came from, too.  That girl (ask and she'll tell you) is awesome.  She has a bucket-load of awesomeness to add to our lives and to our family. 

Like my dad used to say (I chose to think he was referring to my younger brother), "I don't know if you kids are making me old or keeping me young".  Guess he and mom can look back and smile at those years because they chose to see what some parents didn't. 

Drops of awesome (times six). 

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