It's 8:15 on a Friday night, and I know exactly where my teenager is: perched in a chair in the living room, watching a movie with their parents, a spoon stuck in the pint of Ben & Jerry's Coffee …
It's 8:15 on a Friday night, and I know exactly where my teenager is: perched in a chair in the living room, watching a movie with their parents, a spoon stuck in the pint of Ben & Jerry's Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz.
Would it be this way if it weren't for a pandemic? I can't quite say.
Much has changed in the year since the world locked down: A school year ended. Another began and is nearing its end. The teenager gets closer to 16 with every passing day.
And yet much has stayed the same, the way it only can when your child stays at home, zooming into the classroom to learn and studying on their own at the dining room table. There are no sleepovers to disappear into, no high school bonfires, or friend trips to the mall, no movie dates, or camping adventures.
Staying at home with your parents, watching a movie is about as exciting as a Friday night can get when you're not quite old enough to be vaccinated.
Is it the pandemic that has given us these Friday nights as a family all together in the living room, laughing over movies and eating ice cream? Is this the silver lining to the black cloud that we so desperately needed? Or was this how it was going to be regardless?
They tell you the teen years will be horrible, so you'd best gird your loins before they begin.
Instead these have somehow been the best years of our lives, the years with a nearly whole person who can speak for themselves and tell us what it is they need and want.
Snuggling a baby with that sweet smell of Johnson's baby wash is nearly unmatched in its joy, but having someone who can tell you exactly why they're crying has its merits. And no, the lack of diapers doesn't hurt either.
Still, I can't help but wonder if the pandemic hasn't given us something we would never have gotten otherwise.
I can't say.
I will likely never know.
But if you need me on a Friday evening, you know where to find me.