I have 2 kids. I have a daughter who is 13, and a son who is 7. My daughter is wrapping up 8th grade at the end of the month, and next year will be the beginning of High School!! I have no idea where the time has gone. Long ago, when I was pregnant and found out I was having a girl I instantly began to worry. Yes, I am a girl, but I didn’t know how to parent one. (For some strange reason I felt that I knew how to parent a boy?) I went right to how the teenage years were going to be. I worried that my daughter was going to hate me, and that there would be nothing but fighting and tears. Everyone knows that a mother/daughter relationship can sometimes be a strained one. I mean there are books and books written about this topic. To make matters worse, I was working at the library during this time, and I would see these books on the shelves and worry myself even more! Who cares that I was still pregnant, and shouldn’t have been worried about 13 years into my future.
Well, now that future is my present. I was sitting in the doctor’s office with my daughter the other day, and I picked up the Central California Parent Magazine. I began to flip through the pages, and realized that those days of visiting bounce houses and Chuck E Cheese were long gone. (Well at least for her, my son still loves that stuff.) It then occurred to me that my daughter and I have entered a new phase of our relationship. It’s almost as if we’re friends now. Of course, she is still a teenager, and I’m still her mom, so she doesn’t like it if I sing or dance, or wear something uncool-which is all of my wardrobe. She’ll let me know when I have chin hair, or she’ll shake my jiggly arms. None of my friends do any of that. Having said that, we now can enjoy some of the same things. Visiting places around town is different with a teenager than with a 7 year old. Our time together has been enjoyable. We can talk about things, she gets some of my jokes (although she’s quick to tell me they’re not funny), and we like some of the same music. Best of all? We don’t fight. (I don’t know what I worried about all those years ago.)
As I was thinking about all of this, it occurred to me that there are so many more things to explore in Fresno with a teenager. I made a list of some of our favorite things to do.
- Go to the movies. Yes, you can do this with any age, but with a teen, you don’t have to watch the latest cartoon. (Unless you want to.) Just be careful….Teenagers are now the price of an adult! I guess that’s what happens when they grow up, eh?
- Check out ArtHop! We went for the first time together this month. We mostly went because my daughter’s friend was performing, but it was nice to get out and enjoy a couple of hours together watching/listening to music and looking at art. ArtHop is the first Thursday of every month.
- Shop! My daughter and I enjoy going out to fun places around town, and there are so many! My daughter loves to antique shop. We’ve been to stores in Old Town Clovis, as well as a downtown favorite-Yoshi Now! We’ll go to Riverpark, where our favorite store is Cost Plus World Market, or sometimes check out Fashion Fair to window shop or have lunch.
- Visit a restaurant without a kid’s menu. My daughter is too old now to eat off the kids menu anyway, so I might as well go someplace I like to visit too, right? Now when my daughter and I have lunch, we visit places where I can enjoy something just as easily as she can. Some of our favorite places? Panera, Jacks Urban Eats, and Sweet Tomatoes. We even like the variety found at food trucks. We tried WTF-Where’s The Food? recently and really liked it!
- See a live event. Last month I took my daughter to a Postsecret talk at Fresno State. Next month we’re going to see some YouTubers. (Is that a word? Also, this one isn’t in Fresno-but you get the idea.) I know that there is a comedy show, which I’ve written about before, that happens the first Friday of each month at the downtown Teazers. It’s family friendly, so you don’t have to worry about content. In a couple of weeks we’ll also be going to see the New Wrinkles perform at Fresno City.
I’m loving this new developmental stage. My daughter and I are connecting in new ways, and deepening our relationship. All the hard work and attachment we’ve made for 13 1/2 years is coming together in an amazing way. My parenting relationship isn’t gone, it’s just different now. Different topics to discuss, different boundaries, and different places to visit. But all of it good.
So now I’m curious, what are some things you like to do with your teenager?