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Dear Teenage Daughters, Don't Wait Up

Dear Teenage Daughters, In just 11 days, your mother will be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. And so I have a message I'd like to communicate to you. Don't wait up. Don't text me to find out when I'll be home. I'll get there when I get there. Carry on. Listen, I said it often in the last 16 months, and I meant it. It's much worse for you to have lost a year of normalcy in your adolescence that it is for me to loose a year in my 40s. Proportionally, developmentally, it's been the roughest on the you and your friends. And I said this and meant it too: It was a joy getting to know you better. In a time of life when you "should" have been separating, differentiating, pushing curfew limits, and putting your peers in first place, I got the gift of being close to you. I got to be your friend, and it was a privilege! What fun we had making playlists and taking coastal drives, playing air guitar and singing along. What joy to do projects with you and see you grow as artists, musicians, seamstresses, performers of card tricks! What a treat to make all our holiday meals together, to entwine our legs on the couch as we binge-watched "Stranger Things," "Downton Abbey," "Elementary," Marvel movies, the entire Harry Potter series. But in other ways, darlings, Mama is worn out. You're amazing young women. But I am a grown-up woman and I yearn for my own kind. I want to have brunch, go to movies, get my nails done, and -- yes -- talk about you behind your back. That's what moms do sometimes. We have to. It's necessary to be a good mother. And your suspicions are true: When I took long walks around the block with my cell phone, that's what I was doing. I've been chef, housekeeper, emotional-support human, and on sabbatical from my own extremely fulfilling work as a public speaker. I've comforted you when I was terrified. I've tried to help you be patient when I wanted to lash out at the world. I've tried to help you make sense of a reality that was sometimes senseless. And I haven't especially enjoyed your texts asking me if I am socially distanced enough in the backyard during rare times with friends, as you peered out at us from your upstairs window. Though I get it. When you're a teenager, things are black and white. And I wanted to not just make you safe, but make you feel safe. But sweeties, we are entering a new season. We aren't living in a no-risk world now, but we never were. And the worst is over and we can hang out with our dearest people again. So I'm counting down the days. I know you can get back to being used to what you once were used to. I'll go to work sometimes. I'll go serve at church, and though the class ends at eight, I might not be home until 10, because I will probably stand by my car in the parking lot for a while talking to people. I'm going to go watch "This Is Us" at Jodi's house, because then I won't have to listen to your father groan about the drama, or be interrupted. It's LIVE TV, girls! I will occasionally be gone on Saturdays, because some of my best friends have full-time jobs, and I want to see them again. The first week or two, you can prepare for me to be like Kate McKinnon in the SNL skit about Boomers getting the vaccine. Mama is going to party in her fanny pack. Sober, of course.

And here's what I promise you. I will come back refreshed. I adore being your mama. You're still my wing-women. I'm still your cook and your comforter, your confidant and friend. I'll never forget what I learned about you and from you this year. Here's to better times coming! With love, Mom P.S. This mother's day weekend, I want to remind you that if your mom is sane at all, you have these women to thank, and I hope you get some friends like this when you are old like me: Josie, Jen, Gina, Terry, Jodi, Susan, Jill, Jenny, Eun, Elizabeth, Kristan, Carmen, Jana, Wendy, Melissa and Milei.

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