The perspiration. The exhaustion. The exhilaration. The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat.
I'm not talking about sports, my friends. I'm talking about raising teenagers.
In the blink of an eye, they go from adorable tykes pushing their Hot Wheels and baby carriages to lovable but strange lumbering louts and prima donnas.
How do you know when your kids have reached the official teenage stage? Here are some clues:
1. When you reach over to hug them, they cringe like you're covered with toxic waste.
2. You're suddenly not allowed to be seen dropping your teen off anywhere, especially in front of school.
3. Your offspring who used to think you know everything now roll their eyes when you talk, and secretly believe you're the densest person who ever lived.
4. They can fix anything wrong with your phone, your computer or any electronic device in under two minutes, by watching a YouTube video, yet they can't figure out how to operate a broom.
5. Everything is a crisis that needs to be resolved by you, preferably yesterday.
6. They still don't tell you about school projects that are due tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., but now the project involves 20 hours of research.
7. You haven't seen them in hours, but there's a trail of empty milk jugs in the fridge and dirty socks in the hall, so they must be alive somewhere.
8. You somehow become accustomed to seeing your precious angels get into cars driven by strange teenagers who might, for all you know, have sniffed glue an hour earlier.
9. There's a blanket in the living room you use for catnaps, while you crash on the recliner waiting for your teens to get home on Saturday night.
10. You're grateful to get a phone call at 1 a.m. to pick up your kid, because it means he doesn't want to get into a car with his intoxicated friend driving.
11. While you once worried your child would never take a shower again, you now can't get him out of the bathroom to save your life.
12. When you go to the movies as a family, your kid lags behind so his friends won't see him with his parents.
13. Somehow, their teenage jobs end up costing you money, because they need cash for gas and snacks.
14. They suddenly become interested in the world around them, at least as it's expressed on Instagram and Snapchat.
15. The answer to every question you pose to them is "I'll think about it," with the exception of "Do you want to go shopping for clothes?"
Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @FrumpyMom.