Artwork by Julia Schmuck

It’s the tweener week here at the Hoefenways, that’s blended for Hoefle and Hemenway, a name the kids came up with years ago when Ian and I met. Christmas is behind us. The presents are put away.  The decorations are down.  Three kids are home, one is due in on the 4th from Spain and another one arrives on the 6th from San Francisco.

I am holding steady as they say. This is the week that defines the holidays for us. It’s a time to celebrate life with children, who are more adult than anything else.  It’s my time to dive into each of them and to re-establish contact in a new and meaningful way.  Let’s face it, they aren’t the same people they were last year at this time.

I marvel at how smart, how funny, and how mercurial they are.  I am awestruck at their humor, their insight, and their commitment to “showing up in their lives.”  I am touched by their comments to me which include “You look hot in those jeans, Mom” by my 17-year-old daughter, and “Every kid should have a mom like you” whispered in my ear by my 15-year-old, six-foot-tall son.

So here’s to the teens and the tweeners in our lives. These wonders of light and love.

To my own children I say thank you. Thank you for inviting me into your world, and sharing your thoughts, your aspirations, your fears and your dreams.  Thank you for sitting on my lap, for letting me braid your hair, and sharing a quiet moment of reflection.  Thank you for sticking with me through all my painful parenting faux pas.

Thank you for teaching me the Wii and encouraging me as I learn to hit a ball and almost wet my pants doing it. Thank you for giggling with me and not at me, as I learn that you don’t have to actually “play” tennis, in order to “play Wii” tennis.

Thank you for loading my iPod up with all new songs and for making me my own Taylor Swift CD.  Thank you for trying on the dorky pants I bought you and not calling me “stupid head” because I got the wrong style, size and color.

Thank you for loving each other.  For cuddling up together during The Grinch and letting me get a glimpse of you as small children, even if just for a moment.  Thank you for fixing each other French toast and eating together around the table, something that happens less and less these days, as kids grow and some move out.

Most of all, thank you for choosing me as your parent.

For all you parents out there, who wonder what the world is like with five teens in the house – there is only one word to describe it – MIRACULOUS!

Do not waste a single moment with these magical beings.  Before you know it, they will have moved on and you may find yourself trying to carve a spot in their new and exciting lives. Take a few moments, and look beyond the external expression of who they are and look into the hearts, the minds and the spirits of these young people.

There is much joy to be found in those sparkling eyes.  Happy Holidays!

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