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Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
+ Robert Fulghum

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Winter Fun

Hello, Fifteen


{ Photography by the beautiful and talented Claudia Danielson }

When my kids were little, people would caution in warning tones, “Just wait until they’re teenagers.” So when Andrew turned 13, I was prepared for him to get really horrible. But he never did. I mean, we all have our moments. But he’s a nice person and a great student and he doesn’t seem to hate me or Tim. He’s not a big hugger, but I do get a fist-bump every night. And he makes me laugh so hard I cry, which would make me forgive anything.

Andrew turns 15 today. One nice thing about your kids becoming teenagers is that they ease you into it. Although it can feel like it happens overnight. One minute you’re looking down at a little blond head playing trains at your feet and the next you realize that you have to look up to meet his eyes. And that deep voice you hear in the other room is not, in fact, your husband’s, but your son’s.

Your heart might feel like it’s getting squeezed when you see a mama and her chubby-legged baby at the store and you think about how those days are long gone. But then your teenager talks to you about a project he’s working on and he’s so lit up and excited about it that you think, well, this is pretty awesome, too.

While Andrew was getting ready for school this morning, Tim and I did our annual reminiscing about the day he was born. Andrew rolled his eyes a bit, as he’s done the last few years, but I’m pretty sure somewhere deep down—deep, deep down—he likes hearing about how his dad, who is not a giggly person, giggled the entire way to the hospital (I did not) and how there was a beautiful full moon and how we listened to the Cowboy Junkies’ Trinity Session album during the very long labor.

And then he was born and everything changed.

The same people who warned me about teenagers also told me to enjoy every moment with my children. Go figure. That’s going a bit far, if you ask me, because some moments just suck and that’s all there is to it. But they’re right about one thing: it does go fast. Which makes it easy for me to say “no” to a lot of things (which is actually not easy for me at all). We only have a couple more years with Andrew before he goes off to college, and if it’s asking a bit much to enjoy every moment, I at least want to be around for as much of it as I can.



  1. grandpa jeff says:

    happy birthday mom and baby (6′) boy. bet he’s hoping you don’t put that photo onto the front page of the school web page. although I suppose all of the girls would find it irresistibly cute.

  2. Joan says:

    Sweet posting, Shannon. Love it!

  3. Soleil says:

    What a beautiful message Shannon! And a great reminder. What a wonderful post.

  4. Shannon says:

    Thanks, Joan and Soleil! Here’s a funny postscript: Andrew had a “friend” party over the weekend, so on his actual birthday I asked what he wanted to do and he said, “Watch Monsters University.” So he did. I’m really liking 15 so far!

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