Parents are thrilled by the major milestones of our children’s first year: their first smile, that first tooth, their first words and steps. The joy of such experiences is etched into our memories. As the years go by, these major milestones seem to get fewer and farther between. Until, that is, they’re teenagers, and the milestones somehow seem to speed up again: trips without parents, time alone without the family, that first kiss…
Teenage transitions are filled with joy much like those of baby- and toddlerhood, yet not quite so purely or simply, at least for me. That first driver’s license, for example, was cause for pride. Our son was growing up, becoming independent. Hooray! But the pure joy is mixed with worry for his safety, hope that he’ll make good decisions to go with this new responsibility. Same goes for that first job, first girlfriend, first scholarship—joy for sure, accompanied with a mix of hope and prayer about how our kid will handle these independent ventures for the first time.
One major teenage transition that I almost failed to record in the hectic-ness of life has happened just in the past month. Parents, you remember all those childhood birthday parties we planned for our kids? All the care, the love, the time, effort and expense?
I wrote a post about party planning in Mexico, and another about one of the challenges of teenage parties, for example. Well, I suddenly realized that in the last month, my kid and his friends have transitioned to become capable, independent party planners.
It started well over a year ago, that groups of 15-25 of them would get together somewhere without parental involvement. Ok, maybe the girls started earlier, but the boys organizing things, that’s more recent. Usually there was no food, no music, no plan.
But, just this past month, Danny and his friends have had at least four parties at our pool, and they have (on their own) made carne asada with grilled onions and salchichas. They have sodas, tortillas, and chips. The paper ware (forks, plates, cups) still comes from our house, but hopefully it’ll evolve, too.
They collect 30 pesos from each kid, a few of them go shopping, a few of them volunteer to “man the grill,” and they spend 10 am – 10 pm in that pool. I haven’t quite figured out how they don’t prunify or turn into fish, but I do know they are enjoying things. The biggest challenge seems to be, as with any teenage party, limiting the number of people that show up. If you invite 10, 30 seem to come. And once they arrive, they text others. I guess they’re learning and figuring it out.
And, fortunately, they do seem to pick up after themselves; they’ve thus far brought all my borrowed kitchen utensils and spices back safely, and the next day Danny has washed the dishes.