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Farewell to the Teenage Years
7/6/2018 7:45:00 PM by: Susan Lyttek

This weekend my youngest goes from teenager to a twenty-something. He’s still at home as he works on his degree, so I don’t have to deal with the empty nest stuff yet, but there’s no doubt that the dynamics of my life are changing.

By this time next year, when Karl turns 21, I’ll already be a mother-in-law to Erik’s delightful fiancée. And Gary’s considering retiring from the federal government after he becomes eligible—also next year.

However, right now I am losing my grocery store excuse.

Whenever I check out and have a lot of junk food on the belt, I’ve always made some remark about teenagers. The clerks roll their eyes and nod. Everyone knows the reputation teens have for eating parents out of house and home. (Though, to be honest, that has never been Karl’s thing. Yes, he eats junk food, but he rarely goes on feeding frenzies. When he does, chances are that he only ate one meal on the day prior.)

Truthfully, the junk food shows up on the belt mostly for him, but only after he’s almost run out. I don’t shop regularly and I do shop the sales. So if there’s something he likes and it’s on sale, I’ll buy a lot of it then. But saying the whole truth for what I’m buying is more than the clerks usually want to hear. Therefore, I’ve played the teenager card.

I’ve also used that excuse in a positive light. When they ask if I can be helped to my car (because the cart barely contains the contents), I’ve politely declined. “I can handle this end. And I have a strong teenager to unload it for me when I get home.”

Ah well, my verbiage will change because it must. Twenty does not count as a teenager. I guess unless I want to play the getting older trick and say he’s becoming 19 for the second time. But I don’t think that comes off as cute as someone who says they’re 39 for the fourth time or something similar.

As Ecclesiastes says, to everything there is a season. I’m straddling a couple of seasons right now—neither fully in one or the other. But I can see the transition coming. I don’t want it to, to be frank. I enjoyed having my sons at home. I enjoyed teaching them.

Life is not static. It has ebbs and flows and changes. Right now, we celebrate that Karl is entering a new decade. As he does, Lord, watch over him and guide him because You alone know the paths he should walk.

Happy birthday, Karl!

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