It has been two months since Agathe has joined our family and lived in our home. Thursday she celebrated her birthday. Seventeen! What an accomplishment! I still remember when I turned seventeen. I waited until it was exactly midnight and then I made my then twelve year old sister run out into the backyard with me and yell “I’m seventeen!” Even though she was only twelve. (I was a very bossy older sister, let the record show.) Then I started singing “Seveteen” by Tim McGraw. My dad yelled out his bedroom window. I thought he has going to yell at me to shut up, but instead he yelled “Happy Birthday Bopper!” Seventeen felt pretty good.
And now I have my very own seventeen year old living in my house with me! In the flesh! What is it like? What is it like? People ask me all the livelong day.
The short answer is it’s kind of weird. Because yesterday I was seventeen and now I am responsible for someone who is seventeen and, wow, life flips on you fast, doesn’t it?
It is weird in the same way that it’s weird when a six foot four inch tall, 300 pound football player asks me if he can go to the bathroom. Yes, of course you can go to the bathroom and why in the world would you come and ask me, some short blonde, if you can go pee?
Oh, right. Because I’m you’re teacher. But still. Stop asking me to go to the bathroom, you’re a grown man, for crying out loud.
That’s the kind of weird it is. Like when Agathe asks me if it’s alright if she goes for a run now. Or she’s thinking about going out with friends on Friday, is that okay with me? And Tuesday she has a foreign exchange meeting at the library at seven, just so I know. And I’m like what the heck? Why are you telling me this? Why are you asking me if you can hang with friends? Do what you want! Be free, bird, be free! And then I remember that she’s seventeen.
It’s weird for me to be a “mom” in this way- a totally different way that I am a “mom” to June. Being a mom to June is easy. I feed her, I make sure she sleeps, I dress her warm. I’m responsible for big things, like her not rolling down the stairs. Being a mom to Agathe is so much more complicated, though. Should I let her stay out this late? Is she making good choices? Is she happy? Is she making friends? Is she going to have a date to prom? Does she feel comfortable in our home? Does she feel loved?
Hard as it may be to "raise" a teenager, though, Agathe is certainly the easiest teen in the bunch. She's responsible, mature, and remembers things that I definitely forgot at her age. She helps with chores every day, always offers to lend a hand when making dinner or doing dishes. She laughs easily, especially when Greg and I tease her about language gaps. ("I had a big think" she declares and then we laugh and she laughs, and we say we understand because I lived in Argentina and Greg lived in Russia and learning a new language is seriously the hardest.) She runs five miles almost every day and likes to watch shows like "Selfie" and "Switched at Birth." I try to give her crap but she reminds me of my "Teen Mom" addiction and I shut up. She says she doesn't miss home, but then when she gets a package from France she brushes back tears. She's down for anything and always offers to accompany me on my ever exciting trips to the grocery store or post office. She adores June. We are so blessed to have her in our home.
For Agathe's birthday I told her I would make her any dinner in the world. She thought about it for a day and then told me she would like "salmon and pasta." Salmon and pasta? Who's ever heard of such a combination? I asked if it were a certain recipe and she said no, she would just like some salmon and also some pasta please. So, I did some research a la the internet and came up with a salmon leek white wine creme fraiche diddy. And it was good.
Joyeux Anniversaire Agathe!