This piece was originally written for WORLD Magazine on January 1, 2009.
My oldest daughter turned 10 this week. I’ve told my girls (all four of them: ages 10, 8, 6, and 5) that when they turn 10, I’ll take them on a special road trip to Chicago, just the two of us. On this excursion they will get their ears pierced, eat dinner at The American Girl Place, attend their first Broadway show, and have me completely to themselves for three days.
If the trip goes as perfectly as I’ve planned it all out, after we get back home we will never have any relational issues-set up to enter the teen years problem free.
OK, so that’s pretty naïve, or at least it would be if I believed it. I know we won’t live together problem free from that point on, but I’m hoping the transition into this next stage of life for all of us will be smoother than I hear it sometimes can be.
Whenever I go anywhere with all four of my girls (and since we homeschool, this usually applies to anytime I go anywhere), I get at least one nod of sympathy from some random stranger. “They all yours?” I get asked. I smile and claim them and wait for the inevitable: “You just wait until they are teenagers”-the implication being that my life will end when my girls are 18, 16, 15, and 13.
In truth? Life will be different then, but life is supposed to be different. We will all change-all of us. I’m expecting that and hoping to embrace it. I’m hoping this three-day getaway to Chicago will begin to usher in that change with love and intentionality. Really, that’s all I’m expecting from this weekend away. I think that’s a realistic goal.