It is a momentous weekend for us as we become the proud owner of a brand new teenager. Eye rolling and attitude aside, it is actually quite nice having a 13 year old around and, although I miss the years when he was a little boy, there’s much to celebrate in his coming of age.
Here are my six reasons to embrace the teenage years.
1)You can now do things together
Harry and I have always loved swimming but in the early years it was a fairly painful experience spending 20 minutes freezing at our local pool with him in his armbands splashing about. Now we do triathlon swim training together, open water swimming and had a great time on holiday snorkelling and sea swimming. It’s lovely to see him enjoying something that I happen to have a passion for – even if he does beat me occasionally.
2) Watching them develop their own interests is wonderful
With his Grandad he shares a love of all things mechanical and a passion for trains and trams. The pair spend hours talking about, building and painting the model railway set up in my Dad’s spare room.
Star Wars remains an integral part of his life. It was the foundation for his relationship with his Step Dad when we first met almost eight years ago and it is still their shared love.
Joining Scouts two years ago was a revelation for him, he will now camp out in all weathers, hike for miles; all of which he would never have done with us. There are also the usual teenage interests of gaming – although I don’t feel too celebratory about his Fortnite obsession.
3) Holidays are a lot easier
I had a pang of envy as I watched the Mums bobbing up and down with their toddlers in the pool on holiday this summer. Less so when a few hours later they were kicking-off in restaurants; been there, done that. I’m happy topping up my tan by the pool while he’s off with his newly found friends.
4) Work is easier
No longer do I have to drop him at breakfast club then race to work, apologising because I’m late for work. Then leave earlier than anyone else apologising for that, then dash to school, apologising because he’s the last one there. He now takes himself to school and comes home on his own. It has made a huge difference to my working life – and the number people I found myself apologising to in any given day!
5)The conversation changes
Don’t get me wrong, like most teenage boys he lurches from being totally non-communicative to talking endlessly about Fortnite, various You Tubers and many other things I neither understand or want to. However occasionally the conversation does slip into other subjects, sometimes politics or religion, general life issues or what he may want to do when he’s older.
6) They do still need you
Despite being a fairly academic kid he very often struggles with the simple things in life. On any given day he will lose one or all of the following; shoes, PE kit, keys, lunch, money, homework, wallet, bus pass, bus fare, tie, blazer, coat …. the list goes on.
He usually hasn’t a clue where he is going or what time he has to be there which I think is endemic in teenagers. So, for now he still needs his Mum to help him out just a bit. I’m 42 and still need my Dad so I’m hoping there will always be a time I will come in handy.