The storm was brewing upstairs. Standing in the kitchen, I paused and listened. Doors slamming, voices shrill with anger, and then suddenly an avalanche of feet pounded down the stairs. Here we go, I thought, and braced myself for the impact. My three teenage daughters, hair flying and eyes flashing, gathered around the dining room table a mere few feet from my place of refuge. Their thunderous words spilling over and crashing into each other, the decibels increasing at every turn. I silently cursed the builder who thought that having the downstairs living space be one, immense great room was a brilliant idea—clearly, he did not have three teenage daughters.
Before I could even begin to ponder how loud I would have to scream to get their attention, my husband came barreling in from the other room. In no uncertain terms, he told them to shut their mouths. Then he instructed the oldest to drive the middle one to work and not say a word. The youngest he sent to her room. The three furies stomped off, and my husband gave me a look of harried disbelief before retreating to his show that featured quiet, calming, old European castles.
I returned to the task of making dinner with a smirk on my face, shaking my head.
Fast-forward to another evening, where an entirely different scenario plays out. I walk through the front door, sweaty from my exercise regimen, and am met with the delightful sound of girlish laughter. Alexa is on full-volume, the teens’ favorite playlist blasting throughout the downstairs. My youngest goes running by, giggling while being chased by one of the girls’ friends. The kitchen has been erased from all signs of dinner, and the smell of cookie-baking fills the room. There is dancing, teasing, and genuine fun. I smile and relax. This is a joy to walk in and find.
Recently, after making dinner one evening a few weeks ago, my husband and I retreated to the couches in our living area, which, as I’ve said, boasts of a full view of the kitchen and dining room as well. Our son and his girlfriend were in the kitchen, cleaning up. One of our teen daughters had just come home from work and was heating up her dinner. She had picked up one of their friends on her way home, and he was teasing another one of our girls. Both the dog and our eight-year-old son were vying for his attention. All three girls were laughing and making plans for their evening together. My husband looked at me and shook his head at the chaos, but there was a smile in his eyes.
Our life with teens is loud. They crashed through our lives as toddlers and left destruction in their wake. Now they crash through again as teens and leave un-erasable marks on our hearts. The noise will cease, and the quiet will come. But this stage of our lives? I will grasp tightly with both hands. Thunderous storms and all.