The month of March can be maddening. Not quite winter, not quite spring, and yet sometimes both in the same day. It’s messy, it’s hopeful, it’s impatient for spring to just arrive already. Sometimes March is a lion full of blustery storms and harsh winds, and then just as suddenly it’s a mild, temperate, gentle day that smells like sunshine and warm dirt.
I guess you could say March is all mixed up and everything at once, kinda like a teenager. So what better month to host National Teenager Day? (It’s a real thing—March 21!)
Let’s think about how we could celebrate National Teenager Day like we’re the teens. The sky’s the limit. Imagine waking up and being a teenager again for just one day. And I mean just the good parts—not school, homework, the SAT, anxiety, college apps. I don’t know if there’s enough money to make me experience all that again, so let’s just remember the fun stuff. Practice your eyerolling, everyone. And limber up for some stomping off and slamming your bedroom door because National Teenager Day is here.
It’s morning and you open your eyes. You’re probably in a cramped twin bed in a dark and messy room. Chances are it’s on a week day, which means you’re probably waking up early (even though you don’t want to) and dragging your exhausted body out of bed for school. You should probably be angry at someone about that. Mom’s the nearest target–make sure you let her know. Take a really long shower that uses up all the hot water, dry off with three towels, and then leave them on the bathroom floor. Today’s your day, Teenager, and you aren’t going to waste a second of it worrying about consequences like wet towels. Use all the toilet paper and leave the empty roll, too.
Now go pick something up off your floor to wear. Remember what it was like to pull on a pair of pants and find that somehow you had grown three inches since the last time you wore them? Or that you used to wear that size? And with wet hair, no makeup, and braces, you’re still at the peak of health and physical beauty. You don’t even know how beautiful you are, either, with that youthful vitality, long limbs, and unlined skin. And the best part of all: You can bound down the stairs because your ankles, knees, hips, and back don’t hurt yet.
And the food. Great merciful Zeus, do you remember how much you could eat? Bowls of Cap’n Crunch, Pop Tarts, carbs galore. An entire pizza. A triple chocolate mocha latte whenever you wanted. And still be hungry 15 minutes later. Whatever it is, you’re already late, so wolf it down fast. Make sure you leave all the empty boxes/containers/wrappers in the cupboard for someone else to clean up.
When you get home from school, drop your backpack, coat, and sports gear somewhere on the first six inches of floor after you cross the threshold. Take your socks off and leave them wherever they fall. Eat an entire sleeve of Thin Mints. Leave the wrapper on the table. If anyone asks, “Who ate all the Girl Scout cookies?” respond with either (1) “I don’t know”; (2) “I didn’t do it”; or (3) complete silence. Tell your parents a funny story using all the most current teen slang and enjoy the bewildered, uncomprehending looks on their faces. Lie on the sofa looking at your phone until someone asks you to walk the dog or take out the garbage. Then you’ll suddenly remember you have homework to do and that you urgently need to go to your room.
After homework, there’s just enough time to send 2500 texts to your friends, watch “The Office” on Netflix for the thousandth time, and find something to laugh at your parents about. They’re so funny/annoying/clueless when they try to understand your life. Unexpectedly tell them how lucky you are that they are cool and so much better than your friends’ parents and give them a bear hug. Trudge up to bed, exhausted, and fling yourself into bed until you get your second wind because of those darn circadian rhythms which make it impossible for you to fall asleep until after midnight.
Wait, what? My teenager still loves me?! One sweet, heartfelt comment like that and we forget all of the inconsiderate, incredibly irritating stuff that our teens did earlier in the day. Because that’s why we get up and do all those things for our kids the other 364 days of the year—the laundry, the driving, the financial sacrifices, the worrying.
Because at some point, we will no longer have a teenager to celebrate. Just like the month of March, this maddening, bewildering, raw, and tender time of adolescence which blew in one day will end—almost as suddenly as it began.