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I am the mother of teenagers.

If I say this in general conversation, I can pretty much bank on one of a few responses:

“Wow. That’s rough.”

“Uh-oh. How’s that going for you?”

“Well, hang in there. You’ll get through it.”

I understand these reactions. I really do. Parenting teenagers is so hard because it matters so much. There are limits to set, decisions to make, hearts to heal, minds to redirect, hormones to manage, schedules to juggle, and mood swings to ride out . . . all while we’re keenly aware that in some ways, the time we have to do these things is running out.

But once in a while, when I tell someone I’m a mom of teenagers, I wouldn’t mind hearing something like this:

“How wonderful! You must love it!”

Because I think it is wonderful. Because I think my teenagers are wonderful. Because I do love it—and them.

God knew what He was doing when He gave me children and then allowed them to grow to an age that ends in “teen”.

God gave me teenagers to take me places in my mind and soul I wouldn’t have gone otherwise . . . places I needed to go.

God gave me teenagers to make me laugh like I’ve never laughed before.

God gave me teenagers to leave me in awe that a child who was once a helpless baby has turned into someone who knows how to play the cello or pass a football or understand calculus or do a pirouette or repair a car engine or build a robot.

God gave me teenagers to teach me how to give out love that is not always obviously, immediately given back.

God gave me teenagers to stretch my mind: “Is this something I need to speak up or shut up about?” or “What does that look on her face mean?” or “Is it time worry?”

God gave me teenagers to develop my patience.

God gave me teenagers to bring me to my knees in prayer and to my feet in celebration.

God gave me teenagers to put someone in my life who sometimes worries about me the way I worry about them.

God gave me teenagers to test me.

God gave me teenagers to show me what kindness and bravery and determination and compassion look like.

God gave me teenagers to humble me.

God gave me teenagers to help me.

God gave me teenagers to inspire me.

God gave me teenagers to move me to tears.

God gave me teenagers to overwhelm me with pride and joy.

God gave me teenagers to change me for the better.

God gave me teenagers to strengthen me.

God gave me teenagers to delight me, perplex me, thrill me, and humble me . . . usually within the same 24 hours.

God gave me teenagers to challenge me.

God gave me teenagers to amaze me.

God gave me teenagers to give me hope for the future.

God gave me teenagers to expand my heart with a kind of love that breaks it and heals it . . . a love that empties it out and then fills it back up again.

Next time I’m in a conversation with someone and the talk turns to kids, I think I’ll set the stage right from the get-go and tell them, “I’m a mom of teenagers. It’s wonderful. I love it.”

Because I am. Because it is. Because I do.

You might also like:

Dear Mom, This Is What I Need You To Remember Now That I’m a Teenager

The Kids May Be Grown, But Mom Is Still Their Home

Dear Daughter, Remember This About Me When You Become a Mother

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Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two daughters (one teen and one young adult) who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter.

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