The Boy turned 20 this week. My baby is 20.
Just like when I turned 30. 40. Reflection is inevitable.
Larkin and I have had more than the lion’s share of teenager-dom. 17 years. 17 years straight of raising crazy, wonderful, lying, beautiful, self-centered, manipulative teenagers. As Jordan aptly replied, “Puh, teenagers…they’re the worst.” Right?!
I see them. My contemporaries. Celebrities and dignitaries my age. Damn, they look good. But, did they have to raise teenagers for 17 straight years?! I am making frown lines on my brow, as I type.
When you hold those babies in the hospital, gently brushing their faces with the scant wisp of your forefinger, you never imagine the teenage years. The time period in which you will become the un-coolest, dumbest, “you don’t understand” version of your parents. Simpletons, really, just trying to manage on the same planet with the mood-changing creatures you created. A creation you honestly question a few times as they change plans, yet again, miss curfew or simply roll their eyes for the umpteenth time.
Tick, tock. The bells toll.
Joshua is 20. He is filled with a wisdom and a deep soul that I have seen before. He is swimming the pools of his father’s waters. I am in awe. Cautiously optimistic, yet still in awe.
Jordan, graduated from Boston University. Moving to L.A. Headed to Hollywood with determination, wit and wisdom, far beyond her years. Strength and grace. She is simply amazing.
Nicole, an entrepreneurial success, just like her dad. A talented, creative photographer in Austin. Making her own magic happen.
Monica, our oldest. Determined, charging her path, claiming her career as a successful Houston lawyer. Never doubted it for a minute.
Together, the four of them, all in their 20’s. (At least for a few month’s anyway.) Each live in a different city, across 3 states. One goes down, the other three rally. They are lucky. We are lucky. And grateful.
I raise my glass to the four of you. We made it. You grew up. You matured and/or are maturing. Each of you, your own pace. I won’t name names.
Thank God you are not the same kids you were from 1996-2013. May those goofy, clueless, lovable souls live on, deep within your hearts. Personally, I hold every one of those stay up all night and worry years, close to my heart…and brow line…and grayed scalp line.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
But, just so you know, there isn’t anything you tried to pull on me that I couldn’t see right through. You had to lie. You had to push the envelope. You thought you knew it all. I know you had to go through it. You had to get to the other side.
I know. I was once a teenager, too. Just ask Nana & Papa.
And, let’s be honest. It was all pretty “Boy Meets World” compared to that of your dad’s teenage years. At least now, we can all marvel at Uncle Josh’s new book, All The Wild Children, and truly appreciate how good we had it.
And, for a moment, bask in the glory that you were NEVER that wild. Blessed be God. Love, Lola
I have not yet read my brother-in-law’s latest book that was just released this week. I have been warned. But, I know my bro’s talent; I expect an excellent read of his “noir memoir”.
Psshaw. You can’t scare me. I’ve raised four of these “wild children”. All with the same last name.
Update: I read the book in one day! I couldn’t put it down. It was like I really knew the characters…oh, wait…that’s right. I married into this cast of characters!
Excellent, poignant, heart wrenching, honest, beautiful….bad words, sex scenes and all. What a triumph for my brother-in-law, Josh Stallings. I am so proud. To my sister-in-law, Erika, your patience continues to astound.
And to All of the Wild Children everywhere, call your parents. They miss you.