Monday, June 8, 2009

End of an Era

Today marks a huge event in our family, an end of an era, so to speak. Today is Hannah's 20th birthday, and as of today, there are no more teenagers in our family. We have had teenagers in our midst for the past fourteen years, since 1995 when Beth crossed the line into the crazy world of teenage mania, closely followed by Kat, Laura and Hannah.
We have loved the ride.
It was a time of great laughter and tears for no reason at all, late late nights and school mornings when the sun didn't even come up until after classes had begun, and a thousand movies (at least) on a television "with knobs and no remote." Beth would make two phone calls and the basement would be full of kids, and fun filtered up through the vents. We outfitted a large number of the girls' friends with gently worn prom dresses, and Kate created hair styles every year for many of them, hairspray and bobby pins all over the counter. We flexed with last minute plans. We endured unending swim meets, a hundred degrees inside and subzero Iowa weather when we emerged. We stopped counting the number of cross country races we attended with boxes of rice krispie treats on crisp Saturday mornings in Ohio and muggy Tuesday afternoons in Memphis. I miss sitting on the stairs after midnight talking about deep theology and how to survive the rest of the semester. The girls learned the questions and the answers: where are you going, what time will you be home, who are you going with, who is driving, and the ultimate question of all: are the parents home? The outfits were crazy at times, the haircuts frizzy, too straight, and sometimes really bad, and of course, we heard the ever-present cry of despair,"I have nothing to wear." We endured no friends and too many friends and how to avoid creepy guys. There were study groups at the kitchen table and high school football games in Iowa City when the entire town showed up. Young Life came through the door every Wednesday night for three years, an enormous pile of mismatched shoes at the door. There were times of pain and suffering that we didn't know what to do about but pray. There were moves from Kansas City to Iowa City to Cincinnati to Memphis, all during high school. College decisions at times seemed to take a backseat to what earrings to wear to prom. First things first. Hearts were broken. Hope endured. And sometimes it was really hard to "be the mom" and say no. We lived through four driver learning permits, and I held my breath and prayed over brand new drivers on debut errands. There were four long trips to drop off the girls at college for freshman year. We wept on the way home. Every time. We prayed a lot. It was fun, it was tragic, it was quite a ride. And I am going to miss it a lot.
Today we begin another adventure of having our girls all in their twenties and a sweet new baby girl on the way.
When our girls were babies, there were those who shook their heads and said, "Just wait until they are teenagers." And then there were our friends John and Leeba Curlin who said to look forward to those years. We are glad that we took the Curlin's advice.
I post this tribute to our girls, and the amazing fun we had with you. Time for me to graduate.

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