Being the proud sponsor of a teenaged human ( soon to be humans, Teagan is 2 years away! ) is a ride. One moment, the spunky cheery personality that I have enjoyed the past thirteen years shines through, but in a blink of an eye, it is often replaced by a moody broody vibe that can only be created with teenage angst.
Instead of wondering why or where my sweet little kiddo has gone, I’m opting instead to try and get in touch with the confused teenager that still lives inside my very own head. I figure that might be the only way I can even come close to understanding the metamorphosis my daughters are going through… by reminding myself of just how confusing life gets when the shine of innocence is replaced by the patina of adulthood.
Through my observations of the IRL teen, and revisiting the one in my head – I was quickly reminded of one 🔑 aspect of teendom that I personally feel gets lost as the adult mindset takes hold. That trait, or some adults would quickly classify it as a flaw, is listening to those crazy ideas that pop into one’s head. Obsession is probably a better term for this phenomenon. I’m certain if you think back to your own youth, you will quickly remember just how many of those “wild hair” ideas your mind was consumed with.
These wild ideas often are the catalyst that triggers a chain of events, which typically ends up with the teen being in trouble. Other times, they are the an ember that if given enough fuel can result in a fire of learning being lit.
Earlier this month, Kaydee was spending the night at her best friend’s house, and life illuminated one of those crazy ideas for her. This idea will likely end up both getting her in trouble some day and most definitely will lead to many lessons being learned.
I knew this van. And I’m not certain if Kaydee was aware, but years ago I had one of those ideas that consumed me. That idea was to get a VW Bus – but the idea was conceived too deep into my adulthood programming, and I filed it away as a bad idea due to the perceived ( and quite true ) maintenance overhead of these cars.
But in the manner that only a teen can do, Kaydee ran with the idea to see if something was there, she felt she had found her perfect first car. I was of course intrigued. Her bff’s older brother Soren had spent most of his high school days chasing down his own teen-fueled dream with this van. This was his passion project all through school, but he had begun to move on to his next burning idea of taking on a 4×4 truck project instead.
We hung out with Soren a few days later and got to learn more about the van, and all that he had done to it. I was also informed of easily two dozen cool “weekend projects” that we could do together on the van. And then we got to take it for a drive, and that confused teen inside my own head came out of hibernation and was ready to make a deal.
So that is how we ended up back at Kaydee’s bff’s house on Sunday, with a check in hand. It was the first in the string of crazy hot days we are experiencing here in the PNW, but we were undeterred by the heat, the stoke was too high… it was vanagon time!
I know close to nothing about cars. I’ve never performed an oil change before. But I’ve had success with little projects on our old Jetta wagon, so I’m eager to tinker. But more so, I’m eager to model to my teen(s) that sometimes its good to go after those crazy ideas. Even if they might end up in you being stuck on the side of the road somewhere, often. Besides, running with a crazy idea is the best way to remove some of that adulthood patina, and let your youthful desire to learn shine through.
As we drove off in the van, the horn suddenly started sounding on it’s own. Soren had told me the horn was broken, it was one of those aforementioned weekend projects for Kaydee and I to do – but apparently Soren’s dad had replaced the fuse for the horn, not knowing it had a mind of it’s own. So before driving off into the summer sunset, we had our first project on the van of removing the proper fuse to silence the ghostly horn.
Then we were able to drive off into the evening, grins shining through on our faces… two confused teenagers with zero clue about how to maintain a vanagon, but filled with curiosity and courage to overcome any bumps along the way.
Thanks for keeping my mind young and curious Kaydee. That little text sparked an adventure. And I love you so much for it.
After hitting publish, I saw this news story and my heart broke a bit. Indeed teenage ideas tragically go off the rails at times. My thoughts are with all those impacted by this sad event. I will have to share it with the kids to help them learn that cars and alcohol don’t mix.