Raising teenagers is an emotional roller coaster — one minute they can’t wait to get away from you, the next minute they desperately need you. The latter usually involves solving a problem, making a meal or giving them a ride. But as parents, it’s our jobs to hold on until they are over their angst and they need us again.
During these moments, we look for little glimpses of what is to come — the adults they will grow into. Hopefully they'll be kind, considerate, hard-working people who ultimately appreciate their parents, and maybe, just maybe, even grow to like them.
I got my “glimpse” this summer when my children were both out of town on my birthday. It wasn’t a big birthday, and I didn’t feel hurt by their absence. One was at camp, the other was at the beach with friends. They both called to wish me a happy birthday, and I figured that was the end of it. I didn’t expect them to get me anything.
When my older daughter returned from the beach, she called me into her room and presented me with a bracelet she had gotten for me there. It wasn’t just any bracelet; it was a bracelet bearing the coordinates of my favorite beach town.
Then yesterday, fully expecting my younger daughter had forgotten all about my birthday, she presented me with a necklace she bought bearing our favorite childhood saying: “To the Moon and Back.”
It wasn’t the gifts themselves, or the fact they they bought them with their own money, it was the thoughtfulness behind each one that struck me the most. Thoughtfulness ranks very high on my list of prerequisites for adulthood. It is a sign that they are evolving into women who have empathy and think about others. These may seem like small gestures, but as a parent, they make me hopeful for their futures.
I may not have a crystal ball, but I feel certain my “glimpse” is a predictor of good things to come ...
Amanda Lamb 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.