Our oldest child and only son, Hunter, recently celebrated his 17th birthday. I was sappy, a little sad at the speed of life but mostly reflective. The highlight reel of his life has been running through my head, along with the background footage, as my friend Holly calls it—the moments we live out but never record in a baby book, on a blog or in a Facebook post.
In recent years, I’ve learned background footage when parenting a teenager can include:
A smelly, sweaty stench from his laundry hamper. Wet sports clothes go straight to the laundry room now.
Finding out that sports socks are now labeled “L” for left and “R” for right. Two black Nike socks both marked with an “L” don’t make a pair. Now I dump all of his socks in a basket and let him be the matchmaker.
Constantly refilling the toilet paper myself. After a lot of practice, I can now refrain from just doing it myself. Guess what? He’s learned to fetch a new roll and thread the roller. Don’t get me started on the toilet seat, though.
Doubling recipes then serving half to my teenager and the other half to the remaining four family members. Someday I will miss the volume I cook for a hungry teenager … along with buying 10 gallons of milk each week.
Overnighting the dress clothes he forgot for an event 1,000 miles from home. He declined all offers for help as well as a mom checkpoint, insisting he had everything he needed. The shipping charge cost him a day’s wage. Nothing is free anymore.
Stressing the importance of a shower a day and deodorant at age 13. Then, by age 15, he willingly showers three times a day and wears too much cologne.
Sounding like a broken record when uttering friendly reminders. “Get your wet towel off your bedroom floor and hang it up!” “Empty the dishwasher, please!” “For the fourth time, take out the garbage then please practice your piano!” I’ve learned to pick my battles.
Thankfully, background footage isn’t all laundry, dishes and mundane tasks. At the exact right moment, his zest, his wisdom or one of his talents captivates my attention and I stand in wonder of the blessing God has bestowed. For example, just days before Hunter’s birthday our small town celebrated “Arts in the Park.”
I am not the only one thankful for our son. He has two younger sisters who look at him as their hero and start to cry when we talk about college in two years. Until then, we have more background footage to capture.
(Thank you Hunter James for making me a mother and giving me so many moments in the background footage and on the highlight reel to cherish. You make us all very proud.)
What’s on your highlight reel or in the background footage of parenting? Or what do you remember from your teenage years? Please tell me you didn’t always pick up your wet towel!