These two teens are my favorite people on the planet.

Always were, always will be.

I will take them in all their smelly, haven’t showered in days ‘cuz they never leave their rooms, messy, sarcastic glory.

I will take their desks piled high with Mountain Dew cans, leftover food on plates, and muffin wrappers.

I will take their mood swings wilder than the Wild Wild West.

I will take their hair strands left in the tub and crusty toothpaste spittle in the sink.

I will take the late nights holding my breath, waiting for them to get home from a friend’s house.

I will take the eye rolls and the bad TikToks with slang I don’t get and explanations of popular Twitch gaming streamers that I will never understand.

I will take their random, way-too-infrequent hugs.

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I will take them sleeping until early afternoon on the weekends just because they can.

I will take their pickiness with clothes and their ever-changing food likes and dislikes.

I will turn the volume up on the memories we are smack dab in the middle of and set my worries on mute.

I just want to marinate in these moments and fasten these teens under my roof just a bit (or a few years) longer.

My entire world is captured inside these two separate beings, universes that I once grew inside my own.

They are my favorites.

The way the light illuminates all the dreams floating behind their eyes.

The lankiness of their too-long limbs, pieces they are still growing into.

The sometimes sadness they carry in their pores, behind their unsmiling teeth levels me.

The secrets they pull out of the vault to whisper into the wind, hoping I will overhear and catch like fireflies in the moonlight.

The laughter they possess that is all I need for the world to be a pancake in the air, flipped right-side-up again.

They are my favorites.

Even when they refuse to go outside or forget to take their medicine or keep me awake with their late-night gaming.

Even when they stop saying “I love you” because it is “too cliche.”

Even when I get e-mails about failed tests or missing assignments.

Even when they don’t warn me that something is over. Like trick-or-treating, or skinny jeans, or hugging them in public.

Even when they are trying their best to be unlovable.

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Even when they hole up in their rooms for days, and I have to call their names 10 times to get them to come out for supper.

Even when they grow up too fast.

God loaned me these two kids.

I will live every day of my life loving this incredible responsibility, this exquisite honor.

These two, no matter how old they are, will always be my favorites.

Melissa Neeb

I'm a Minnesota native and lover of nature, WW2 memoirs, rescue dogs, photography, and thrifting. My husband and two teenagers are the great loves of my life. I am passionate about advocating for addiction recovery, writing about parenting, life, faith, and everything in between.