I am not ready for my daughter to be a teenager.
She’s 2… And I know have a some time before she does.
But I thought time was on my side 11 years ago when I first met my stepson. I remember changing his diapers, watching his eyes light up when visiting the monkeys at the zoo or while riding his trike, and hearing his squeals as he chased his dogs around the yard.
He was almost 3 when his dad and I started dating. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to experience all these moments with this adorable little boy, whose mom welcomed me into his life like family.
Now, I watch Liv do the same things. Same zoo (probably even the same monkeys), same trike, same dogs.
I swear that it was just yesterday that I watched as my 5-year-old buddy boarded a CRJ-700 aircraft for Omaha from Florida, coming home to visit us for the summer. His dad held his hand as he beamed while I pinned on his wings. That was the beginning of his love for flight.
On Saturday, my 13-year-old stepson flew home for the school year by himself. He’s been on airplanes more times than he count on fingers and toes, but this was the first time he flew alone.
Of course, it went perfectly. He’s a seasoned traveler, and he’s a teenager. I can’t quite wrap my head around it.
Now I get to do it all over again.
This time I get to do it with a little more experience and with an added bonus. Watching Liv with her big brother, that little boy that I first met 11 years ago, gives me a feeling of pride and happiness I can barely put into words.
I see in her the same silly boy that liked to climb on furniture and cuddle in Grandma’s lap. When I watch him hug her, I see the same tenderness that his father has shown with both him and Liv, and I realize what a privilege it has been for me to watch this amazing young man grow up.
Maybe I am not ready for her to be a teenager, but I am ready to embrace both of my kids growing up.
Jen Schneider is a middle school teacher and mom to two children.
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