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"After so many tea parties", he said in a moment of introspection. The conversation began about teenagers. These little adults who have come to determine that you not only are clueless, but they are ready to take on everything - NOW. The ball of hormones that bounce from the highest of high to the lowest of low, where the high is testing your limits of patience and the low requires a scapegoat. The scapegoat could be you, it could be their best friend or it could be their own self as they question if life is worth living. Their spirituality is tested as well. They may experience a spiritual high or question everything remotely spiritual, but one thing is consistent, they are sure it is something you cannot relate to.

After one wounded soldier was consoling the other, the question circled around to, "How did we get here, we were not emotionally and relationally absent fathers, we actually worked hard at being good dads". "After so many tea parties", "After so many nights of reading bed time stories", "After all of the rearranging of work schedules for kids events", "After so many all nighters for sick kids or last minute school projects or putting together the perfect christmas gift" (the one that will be forgotten a day or two later) After all of this and more, each of us had received phone calls from the school that required an immediate conference.

How does that happen? I have not figured that out yet. I love to quote something I read years ago, "You have the illusion as a parent that you are helping the child grow up. Quite the contrary, the child is helping you grow up. After-all, what is growing up? Is it not the act of moving from being self centered to selfless?" When that teenager was once two months old, as I tired to console him as he cried all night, even though I had to get up at 5 a.m. to go to work, began then, tutoring me in growing up. Just when I thought I was all grown up, my young adult tutor has been showing me that we have only scratched the surface.