Now the Mother of a Teenager


February 24  

“You do realize that for the next thirteen years we will have a teenager in our home, right?”

Just as we began the celebration of our oldest beginning his journey through the teen years, my husband was quick to point out that we, too, had just embarked on a long journey of parenting teenagers through sometimes the hardest but, hopefully, also the most joyous years of their lives.

Although excited to enter into this new season of motherhood, I also feel somewhat anxious. Will these next years bring me to the middle of a desert, wondering and hoping that I am guided to be the mother my children need me to be? I suspect that sometimes I may find myself wandering in the desert, uncertain where God is leading me and the teenagers whom I have been called to accompany.

As I embark on this new season of motherhood, I sometimes worry about the days ahead in which I am called to always respond in love: to the testing of boundaries; to the questioning of our family’s religious beliefs; to the mistakes that all teenagers make in these years of seeking independence. Will my children hold onto the faith? Will they know that no matter what they do or what new ideas they encounter and experiment with, that they will always be loved? Will they realize that we will be waiting and ready to embrace them when they return, just as Christ embraced us when we made mistakes but then returned? Will they forever know how much they are loved, not just by us, but by Christ?

It is within these moments of uncertainty, however, that God has brought me to a deeper trust in God’s promise to us—that if we remain steadfast in forming our domestic churches dedicated to training up the way [our children] should go, that when they are [older] they shall not depart from it (Ps 22:6). I trust that God will continue to provide my children, my husband, and me the guidance we need to walk in his ways—that he will faithfully remain at work in our lives, even during the wild ride of the teenage years. I know that the journey ahead might sometimes seem scary, but I also rejoice in knowing that, because we have built an inviting domestic church in our home, my children will be reminded to continue to walk in his ways—even when, at times, they don’t wholeheartedly embrace those ways.

This is the hope that I have and the reminder that I offer to moms who are still in the season of “littles.” Know that what you do today in prayer and faithful solitude will build a foundation of strength and hope that will sustain you while traveling through the different seasons of motherhood. Let us pray each day with the psalmist at today’s Mass: To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. Hang on tight, mothers, and enjoy the beautiful journey.

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