The Dramatic Pause: Life With Teenagers

I had such a busy day sprawled out ahead of me. Staff meetings. Orthodontist appointments. Rehearsal. Dance class. And the little thing we like to call ‘work’ was mixed in the middle of it all. Praise God for whoever invented the crock pot.

I rushed out of my staff meeting early to pick my teenager up for a routine orthodontist appointment. I expected to drop in and drop out and be done in under an hour. But, of course they were backed up with patients today. No worries. More time to waste on social media.

When my daughter finally emerged from her good old-fashioned tooth straightening, I was ready to send her straight back to school. There were still miles to go before I could sleep.

But she said, “I’m hungry and I’ve missed lunch at school.”

“So, eat the lunch I packed for you this morning. You can eat it in the car.”

<Enter dramatic pause>

“You were hoping I’d take you out for lunch weren’t you?”

Teenagers always seem to have a way of planning everything around food. It’s never “Who will be there?” or “What time should I be ready?” It’s always, “What will we have to eat there?” I am very certain that my children ask me, “What’s for dinner” more than any other single question and at multiple times during the day. I suppose they think I may change the menu or worse yet, forget to feed them.

But she got lucky today. I was hungry myself and there was nothing waiting for me back at the office. So, I let her choose a place that I could drive through and send her on her way.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I was gently reminded that these times are fleeting. I will not have many more precious moments and requests for a lunch date before my beautiful girl goes off to college in a couple years. So, I seized the moment and offered to dine-in. She gladly accepted the invitation. I know it was more to avoid returning to AP History class, but a mother can pretend that her company is appreciated even by her 15yo daughter.

I am so glad she accepted my invitation. We are both so busy. It felt so good to spend an uninterrupted moment with her. It was there sitting across from my baby girl as she dove into a pile of greasy french fries that she took my breath away. I had forgotten how gorgeous her eyes are. God gave her the most amazing colored eyes speckled with greens and blues, all trimmed with a deep indigo rim. One day some undeserving boy will look into them and sweep her off her feet.

But not today. Today when I asked her how she was she answered with the generic, “Fine.”

And then followed it with another dramatic pause. She’s good at that.

Whenever she starts a sentence with, “Soooo….” I know I am in for a very long discussion.

She was very troubled by something a friend of hers had trusted to her. It was between sips of her Dr. Pepper that she spilled some very heavy information to me. She kept telling me about the situation and I just listened and tried to offer advice when she asked for it. I couldn’t help but think how very lucky I am to have a daughter who is a). Willing to be seen eating french fries with me and b). Still seeking advice from me in her teen years.

While she was talking I remembered back to when she was a doll-baby and she’d talk and talk and talk to me about the most random things. And I think because I listened to her when her biggest problems involved imaginary friends, she can trust me even more now when her friends are very real.

Let us never discount the importance of even the smallest things in our children’s lives. For if they can trust us with the small things, they will be more likely to trust us with the big ugly things later. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather my kids trust me with the big ugly stuff than to trust the rest of this world.

I am so very glad I took a few more moments in my day to eat lunch with one of my most favorite people. It eased a bit of her burdens to talk some things out. And if the truth be told, it eased some of mine too. I’m not a perfect mom. I mess up a lot. I yell at my kids and forget to sign permission forms, etc. But I like to think I got it right today. In the middle of a crazy Tuesday, I took the road less traveled by way of a fast food restaurant and it made all the difference.

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