My firstborn turned 15 years old last week.
Time is an interesting thing. In some ways it feels like just yesterday that I held her in my exhausted arms, depleted from a sleepless night of labor and hours of pushing. In other ways it feels like a whole lifetime ago. The world has changed so much. I have changed so much.
Babies are wonderful. I will hold a baby any chance I get.
BUT… two weeks ago when my husband and I saw a couple with a baby and he said, “Awww, I miss those days,” my response was, “Nope, not me.”
I would not trade this time for anything. I’m so glad I’m done with diapers and strollers and child safety seats. To be sure, the cares and fears that go along with adolescence are HUGE. I’d love to go back and have my problems with her centered around managing her nut allergy and asthma rather than being bullied or being tempted to do drugs or have sex.
That being said, I LOVE being able to talk, really talk, with my daughter. We discuss politics, social issues, faith, relationships and other “heavy” topics. Her insights are always interesting and often profound. She is becoming an amazing young woman, one that I am proud to know. In the past few years she’s had more than her share of painful experiences that left me frightened beyond words for her. There is nothing worse than watching your child in pain and knowing there is nothing you can do to take it away. Thankfully that period in her life seems to be over. But those experiences have shaped her, made her compassionate and an advocate for those on the fringes. I am constantly proud of her character.
She’s still a “typical” teenager – she loves to try to push our buttons (succeeding way too much with my husband). I find myself quite often relying on my social work background (I have a bachelor’s degree in social work) to stay calm on the outside, withholding my opinion as I listen to her go on about something, all the time panicking on the inside thinking, “Now what the hell am I going to say to THAT!?” Adolescence is rough, even with the best of kids!
Babies may be wonderful, but at least for today, I’m finding having a fifteen year old much more satisfying.