Lately, I’ve been trying a lot of new things.  I’ve been listening to new music, shopping different stores, and watching all kinds of new shows on TV.  I’m actually making these changes by choice.  See, my daughter is now in full teenage mode, and she loves sweet coffee drinks, all things Vans and Hollister, and knows every word to pretty much every song on the radio.  She’s smart, fun-loving, full of compassion, and wise beyond her years. But… she is still a teenager, figuring out life and finding her place. That’s a full-time job for her most days, so I’m making it my mission to find ways to connect on HER level. The small stuff.

Easy Kid Transitioning to Teenage Years

I’ll admit it – we’ve had a pretty good relationship so far and she is a relatively “easy” kid.  But I know that the teenage years can be difficult and I’m sure we have some trying times ahead.  I’ve tried to prepare for these years by not only trying to keep the lines of communication open and talking about the “big stuff,” but being intentional about talking about the “small stuff.”

That is pretty much anything and everything she is interested in.

Some days the “small stuff” looks like an hour of online searching — looking for just the right Champion sweatshirt, or maybe it’s designing our own custom Vans shoes online that we want to order someday.  The “small stuff” is sometimes watching episodes of Outer Banks together and me asking silly questions to keep up with the storyline.  And sometimes the “small stuff” is sitting in the corner of the local coffee shop just keeping an eye (and ear) on her and her friends, then discussing the latest gossip with her on the way home.

The “small stuff” is important to her, so I’m making it important to me.

Talking Small Stuff During a Big Car Trip

Recently it was the “small stuff” that filled our 17+ hour cross-country car trip.  We sang and danced to every song in the book, old and new.  Politics, the choices some of her friends were making, and all the worries she had about moving and starting a new school — we discussed them all.  We “vlogged” (video blogged – another first for me) messages for her friends about the weird billboards we saw and interesting drivers we passed.  And it was about the 15 hour point – when I glanced over and saw her huge smile and the tears on her face from all the laughing we had done — that I realized just how important these moments are to her… and to me.

See, the “small stuff” leads to the “big stuff.”

I know my time with her at home is nearing the end.  These next few years will fly by and sooner than I would like, she will be out the door.  I want her to know we are here for her – through the bad dates, not-so-great grades, good times, first big jobs, and all the ups and downs in between.  My phone is always on and the door is always open.  I’m no epic parent, but I truly believe this intentional dedication to connecting and engaging on the “small stuff” will make a huge impact on our relationship and when the “big stuff” hits, she will know she’s not alone.

The Payoff?

So, for now, I’m sweatin’ the “small stuff.” Making an effort to jam to her music, shop her favorite stores, and share in her stories.  I’m hoping that sweatin’ the “small stuff” now will pay off big in the end.  And who knows? Maybe I’ll find a new TV show I secretly love and add a few fun outfits to my mom wardrobe while I’m at it.

Here’s to sweatin’ the “small stuff” — teenager style.

small stuff