My daughter turned 13 back in January, and my son is 15, which means that for the past eight months, we’ve been living with two teenagers in the house.
This is not the first time we’ve had teenagers living under our roof. In the past, we’ve hosted Peninsula Oilers ballplayers and foreign exchange students. But when it’s your own kids, it’s a little different.
There have been quite a few changes in our household over the past year or so. I can’t say that anything happened overnight, but we’ve definitely been gradually sliding into the teenage years and all that goes with them.
For example, what used to be our weekend family breakfast has turned into more of a brunch — sometimes a very late brunch — as the kids aren’t quite as eager as they used to be to hop out of bed for blueberry pancakes or bacon. In fact, there are many weekends where I cook breakfast and leave plates in the microwave for the kids, which they eat while I’m having lunch. Our house is very quiet on Saturday and Sunday mornings — though that may change this weekend as the NFL season kicks off.
There’s quite a few other signs that we have teenagers at home, and with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, here’s a few:
If you go to your pantry cabinet looking for snack, only to find that it’s filled with empty cereal boxes and bags of chips containing nothing but crumbs, you might have teenagers living in your house.
If you can’t find a bowl in any of your kitchen cabinets because they’re all stacked on the window ledge behind the curtain in your daughter’s room, you might be living with teenagers.
If you go to load the dishwasher, and at first glance, it appears to be full, but when you pull the rack out it almost falls off the rails because the back row is completely empty (putting dishes there apparently requires a skill set that teens haven’t yet developed) you might have teenagers in your household.
If you’ve asked for a chore to be done and, when confronted with the response of “What do I get for it?”, answered with “You get to live here,” you might have teenagers in the house.
If you’ve ever wanted to use the dryer, but found that someone appears to be using it for clothes storage instead of their closet or dresser, you might have teenagers in the house.
If you’ve ever tried to express some heartfelt sentiment or valuable piece of wisdom, and, after saying what you wanted to say, had your child look up, take off their headphones and ask, “Did you say something?”, you’ve got teenagers on your hands.
If you’ve ever threatened to change the wifi password just so you can stream the last 20 minutes of a movie without it buffering because your kids are hogging your bandwidth, you might have teenagers in the house.
If you hear strange noises coming from the stereo and are told that it’s music and not, as you had suspected, migrating sandhill cranes, you might have teenagers in the house.
If you’ve ever tripped over sneakers, gym bags, sports gear or back packs piled directly in front of the door, you might have teenagers in your house.
If you wonder what your kids are sleeping on because their clean sheets have been in the laundry basket for a week, you might have teenagers at home.
If you’ve ever felt like you need a spreadsheet to keep track of who needs to be where and when, you might have teenagers in your house.
Of course, for all the little frustrations, there’s plenty of joy in our house, too. We have great kids who are smart, witty and compassionate human beings. With two teenagers comes lots of laughter and fun. When everyone is home, it’s noisy and chaotic, but when the kids are gone, it feels a little empty.
So here’s one last item for the list: If you’ve developed an appreciation for laughter and noise and hectic schedules and everything else that goes with it, you might have teenagers living in your house.
Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.