It’s 15, and for those of you who haven’t yet crossed 15, 15 is this.

Fifteen is late nights. Late nights full of dropping off or picking up. Late nights full of cookies, chocolate milk, and chips, and all things in between. Nights of late texts, funny memes, a GIPHY that doesn’t quite make sense. Nights that are hard, exhaustion pushing heavy, but you muscle through because you know that in these dark and tender moments, memories are made, secrets are whispered, worries are turned into words.

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Fifteen is worry. Worry about grades, about friends, about choices being made. Worries about risks being taken, and equally risks that aren’t.

Worries about the future and if we’ve done enough. Worries about the past and if we’ve done too little.

Fifteen is loud. The music, yes. The clothes, maybe too. But deeper, deeperthe loud voices, the loud feelings, the loud and crowded world fighting for a space here in 15. It is loud opinions and loud oppositions, and loud lovethank you for the loud, loud love for somehow, even if only a glimpse, the loud love covers decibels upon decibels of the loud everything else that sometimes doesn’t feel quite as lovely.

Fifteen is grace. For you, for them. It’s grace for late wakeups and forgotten gym clothes. It’s a bit of grace for messesthe crumpled clothes, and crumbs, and dirty glasses everywhere. Grace for patience worn thin, and grace for words spoken harshly. Some grace for the moods, and some more for the moping.

Grace for everyone just trying to figure 15 out . . . all of us. Big grace for all of us.

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Fifteen is unexpected. Unexpected I love yous and unexpected hugs. Unexpectedly deep conversations in the safety of a dark drive. An unexpected thank you threw in the middle. Things once ordinary, almost assumed, now magically morphed into the best surprise a day could hold. 

Fifteen is wonder, and 15 is awe. Moments you catch yourself staring at a life once so familiar, now suddenly a small bit foreign. Pieces of a boy still remaining, but hidden deep under manly muscle and chiseled long and jutting bones. Eyes wide, you watch 15 propel themselves into their own worlds, created and crafted no longer by you. You reach out, but they’ve already gone, swept away fast by friends and laughter and new memories to make. And so you’re left alone again, wondering how this happened in the mere moment since birth.

Fifteen is exciting, and magical, and altogether lovely.

It is up, and it is down, and just as fast, it is up again. It is crazy, and then it’s quiet, and then just as it’s almost too quiet, it is crazy once more. 

It is never knowing what’s around the corner and also not ever being sure you want to. Fifteen is an adventure you are both invited to be a part of, but at the very same time, asked to sit back and watch. 

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If you’ve never been here before, know this: Fifteen might just be everything amazing you could have never expected, peppered with just a little of what you did.

Previously published on the author’s Facebook page

Rachel Gossen

I am a mom of 4. 3 teenaged sons (send help and also food) and one 8 yr. old blessing of a daughter. My husband and I have lost ourselves in the raising of them in the past 16 years...but we're perfectly fine with that. It won't last forever....we're learning this more quickly than we could have ever guessed. I'm not really a writer, just a mom who loves her kids, and loves words on the side. Find me on Facebook!