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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Fourteen

Posted July 9

Nothing makes you appreciate a 14-year-old quite like having a 17-year-old, writes Amanda Lamb.

Nothing makes you appreciate a 14-year-old quite like having a 17-year-old.

Once teenagers start driving, they are gone. No one warns you about this in advance - the phenomenon of becoming an empty nester before your children actually go to college.

But 14-year-olds are still on the cusp of this. They are on their way to becoming young adults, but are still children in many ways. They can't drive. They still enjoy being with their parents, and they still have some of the vestiges of childhood that their older siblings have long since cast off.

I had the pleasure of spending a week with my 14-year-old daughter and my niece, her 14-year-old cousin. They attend surf camp at the coast every summer.

While they are exposed to much more about the adult world than I was at their age, they are still silly and fun in a way that only kids who have not yet been touched by the self-consciousness of adulthood truly can be.

They dissolved into laughter over secret shared jokes, wore blue zinc across their faces with pride and spent hours making crazy GoPro videos. Most importantly, they were not embarrassed to do things with me, the mother and aunt, like older teens seem to be.

I know this too shall pass. They will eventually grow out of this perfect not-a-little-girl-but-not-quite-a-woman stage. I wish I could freeze them at 14, but it's not possible.

So, until my younger daughter flies away, I will wrap my wings around her for a few more moments, mindful of the day when the nest will truly be empty.

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.

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