Celebrating Thirteen ~ Care to Dance?

The past week and half have been so busy with packing, moving, and arriving in Montréal that I haven't had time yet to share the photos from Céline's 13th Birthday trip.

Thirteen is a big year. At some point in the past few years - out of my reading, dreaming and scheming for this next stage of parenting - I decided that we would bypass the word teenager altogether. Before you laugh me out of the room for my naivety, let me explain.

In our home, we're calling these the young adult years. So, you won't see me referring to my kids as teenagers.

A semantic quibble? Maybe. But I believe that what you name things matters. So do dreams and expectations (matter that is).

We have high hopes, dreams and expectations for the young adult years in our family.

These will be years of intense growth and study. Lots of adventure and pushing the limits. Lots of talking and loving. We plan to challenge these kids of ours and we expect to be challenged in turn. 

Over the coming years, and hopefully in the coming months, I plan to share more of our dreams for this very important time in our family life. How we are supporting our children in becoming who they want to be. Encouraging their personal growth, while still keeping connected and committed to family life. It's going to be dance I tell you.

Already I'm dancing. In and out of the reel. Handing Céline to her father, watching her spin away. And then, as the rhythm changes, gratefully taking back her hand and pulling her close.

All the reading in the world still doesn't prepare you for this dance. Just as baby parenting books can't prepare you for the newborn days when life is literally turned upside down and all around. 

I'm a newbie at this, parenting a young adult. And I'm so grateful for the foundation we've built of love and respect.

I realize this doesn't make us immune to "teenage troubles". I'm really not that naive. I was a teenager once and gave my parents a pretty good run for it too.  

But I know that what you manifest matters. Your dreams and your hopes and how you communicate those with the people you love. And so we're manifesting a beautiful dance for these coming years. 

The music may get loud (that happens at good dances) and the steps complicated but it's going to be fun time. 

More photos and specifics from our trip in this follow up post

« Our Montreal Digs
Thirteen ~ The Trip (if you ever visit Fredericton, NB) »
  • Cari

    Cari on June 2, 2012, 10:28 p.m.

    I love your perspective and also really love the idea of thinking of teenage years as young adult years - the words themselves are much more empowering and defining in positive terms. I may borrow that one in a few years.


  • Cinnamon

    Cinnamon on June 3, 2012, 3:17 a.m.

    That was so sweet! I love our young men and young lady. We have four of them (teens) currently and they are a huge help to me plus I still like them and they still like me :-)

    A dance, what a great way to describe this time with them.

    We don't like the word teenagers either. Most people say it like it's a dirty word, which is really sad.

    What a beautiful family you have.



    • renee

      renee on June 3, 2012, 12:27 p.m.

      Thank you Cinnamon. I love hearing from moms further along the journey. You have a beautiful family also!


  • Jacinda

    Jacinda on June 3, 2012, 5:45 a.m.

    I totally get bypassing the word "teenager." It's so loaded with expectations that don't support natural growth and transition in a supportive environment. Good on you Renee.


  • Michelle

    Michelle on June 3, 2012, 12:40 p.m.

    As someone who knows (I have three adult daughters) you are on the right track with having built a foundation of love and respect. If parents have failed to do that in the early years, the young adult years become much more difficult.

    We built the girls foundation with love and respect too and although it wasn't all cake and ice cream, we managed to get through it in a most pleasing way. And now... the big payoff for all the 'no you can'ts and yes you musts' is our adult daughters still seek our counsel when they need it but more so have become friends. You are going to be wonderful!


    • renee

      renee on June 3, 2012, 12:58 p.m.

      Thank you Michelle. What I long for most of all is good relationship with my children. That give and take that comes from loving. I want my girls and my boy to be my friends when they are all grown. I want friendship right now, and there are moments of it, especially with Celine when we are equals, but I'm still very much mom. Thanks for the encouragement. 


  • Semeeah

    Semeeah on June 3, 2012, 1:10 p.m.

    Hi!My name is Semeeah.My mom visits this blog everyday and sometimes she post comments on this blog.I saw that Celine turned 13 and I was wondering if Celine wants to be penpals with me and I'm also homeschooled too.I'm living in the US.If Celine wants to be penpals with me and I also write long letters too.Thanks! :)Great post!


  • Wendi

    Wendi on June 3, 2012, 5 p.m.

    It is a dance indeed. All of parenting is, I think. We're learning to let go from the time they are toddlers. Letting go, but still protecting. And the right balance between the two is always changing. This is one of the most beautiful dances in life, I think. One I am so blessed to be a part of.


  • Francesca

    Francesca on June 4, 2012, 9:22 a.m.

    Happy birthday Celine! As a foreigner, I actually like the term "teenager": neither child nor adult - indeed a special and unique phase in a family, when children grow into the adults they'll become, and parents age and enter a new stage in life and parenting. I used the verb "age" because I'm beginning to wonder whether part of parents dread with regard to their children's teen years is accepting the inevitable generational shift. We have a 15 and a 13 yo (18 months apart), and I must say that life is a lot easier and more fun now then when they were babies. Happy dancing!


  • Jessica

    Jessica on June 4, 2012, 12:58 p.m.

    You are so inspiring to me, Renee, in your intentional living and parenting. My oldest is eleven now, and it is amazing how things change as they grow. I am also working toward keeping and caring for a good relationship with my son while encouraging him to be who HE IS, not who anyone else (including me!) thinks he is or should be. It's hard! But your writing is so very encouraging.


  • Emily

    Emily on June 4, 2012, 1:43 p.m.

    Love. Love. Love.

    We have always thought that 13 would be the beginning of adulthood for our kiddos, too. Now that it is only a few months away - I'm glad to have people like you in the dance with us.

    Happy Birthday, Celine. I can't wait to see all that the world is going to receive from you!


    • renee

      renee on June 4, 2012, 1:47 p.m.

      I remember that Em, from our conversations from way back, when our kids were still little rugrats. Now they're big rugrats!  Can we be co-conspirators in this? In raising non-teens?


  • Renee

    Renee on June 4, 2012, 3:40 p.m.

    So nice how you are embracing the young lady's upcoming years. My gosh I hated being a teenager, I am scared to go thru it with my 3 ladies. I only hope to have some wisdom to guide me, better start praying for that now!


  • Kika

    Kika on June 5, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

    I don't care what we call it - as long as we buck the negative connotations and expectations of this season of parenting and friendship. It is wonderful. Even the hard moments where we realize, as parents, we need to pray more than ever before. Or when we hurt each other and need to separate to shed some tears then come back together to talk and forgive.


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