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My oldest daughter is about to be 13. THIRTEEN. But this isn’t a post about, “How can I be a mother of a teenager?!!” Nope, not one of those. I mean I could write about that. Write about how she was a baby and then I blinked and how does time fly by so fast?!

But by the time I was done, you’d be thinking about your own children and how they grow up too quickly and you’ll likely be sobbing in a dark closet, clutching onto their old, worn lovey and well, none of us would feel good about that.

Plus I’m apparently too emotionally unstable for that kind of thing. I just teared up reading an article about surviving your “empty nest” even though I won’t actually have to deal with that for six more years. It’s good to get the crying out early.

So nope. This is about something different.

At the beginning of the summer, I realized something.  I needed a better way to connect with my oldest child. She is an independent spirit who would be very content living on her own in a west village apartment in New York City right now if we would only let her.

A once very shy little girl, she rarely looks back now. Unless I’m holding the Starbucks frappuccino she ordered. (And yes, I still make her drink decaf even though she is very exhausted after 10 hours of sleep and would prefer caffeine.)

And yes, parents have to set the rules. She has to go to bed on time (even though she’s not tired at all) and we won’t let her get a dog (because pets aren’t fun when your parents are having nervous breakdowns) and we won’t let her have a TV in her room or let her keep her phone in her room at night and probably a million other things.

But I love her madly and want to connect more with this growing, independent, caring, amazing girl.

So I did what any parent would do. I got her an apartment in Manhattan and wallpapered the walls in Starbucks’ decals.

I mean, sort of like that. But way cheaper.

I joined Snapchat. Like joined it and actually learned how to do it. My daughter loves Snapchat. Her passion for keeping her streaks going with friends is unparalleled. The scientists trying to get to Mars should have her kind of determination.

So now I send Snapchats back in forth with my two oldest daughters and it’s a really fun way for us to check in and connect.

Plus, the filters can make you look pretty good (which is nice for anyone over 35. Okay over 40. Okay over… Never mind).

Even the ones that distort your face somehow make you look younger!

I even got my mom to do a Snapchat and will obviously cherish this photo forever…

I find when it comes to kids… you have to try to join them where they are. With my 4 year old, he’s into worms and frogs and a tiny dead crab we found on the beach the other day.

With my older girls, it’s Snapchat.

And going to H&M and Target. And playing in the ocean. And singing pop songs in the car.

And finding a show (like Gilmore Girls) to watch together. To take a break from the endless stream of YouTube videos that seem to be about fashion, slime, pranks and a million other things you forgot to think about today.

And having a few minutes to chat at night before bed because a child will tell you anything and I mean anything when they are trying to avoid going to bed.

And listening to them when they want to talk.

And trying not to get too frustrated when they won’t.

And joining them on the roller coaster of emotions even though I never loved roller coasters. At all.

So yes, thirteen is banging down my door. Only 6 years until she leaves for college. It’s forever and no time at all. It’s a lifetime and a moment.

I could cry. I think I’ll Snapchat her instead.

3 Responses to finding a way to still connect when your child becomes a tween or teen

  • Jill says:

    Wish you were doing this when I was raising my kids… but you didn’t have those cuties yet… and there was no Snapchat! Loved this piece Kelcey!

  • Michele meisner says:

    I’m still trying to figure out Snapchat. Maybe you can give me a tutorial. I’m impressed you get it.

  • Daphne Biener says:

    Beautiful Kelc. She’s lucky to have such a great mama. (by my math, you’ve got a tad more than 6 years to go until empty nest though…maybe more like 14?!)

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kelcey kintner