Do you remember turning 16? I do. Like it was yesterday. It was the summer holidays. My friends and I were hitchhiking up north. We stopped at a cafe. There were four of us hunched around a Formica tabletop with sodas, and I remember saying I didn’t want to turn 16 (the next day). Why not? It was too close to 20! Who could imagine being “so ancient?”

Funny how the vantage point of time changes things.

The youngest of my three sons had his sweet sixteenth birthday two weeks ago. He is more mature at this age than I have ever been. I guess for some people it just comes naturally. The other day, he said, “Do you know what I’m looking forward to the most about growing up?”

I said, “No” although I imagined he’d say beer, driving, or possibly not going to school.

He said, “I’m looking forward to having logical, rational conversations.”

Huh? Jaw drops to floor.

We’re definitely different, he and I. At 16 I fretted about getting old, while my youngest son pines for more adult conversation. How shallow was I? He’s already a better human being than I am. Huzzah!

What did the son want to do for the big milestone birthday? After offering him every adventure option or fun experience available, what he most wanted was ‘a cake and to hang out’ with his friends uninterrupted. Could they hang here? Sure, I said, smiling, although I secretly dreaded it. Idiot Trooper that I am, I let him invite all his mates over regardless.

My friends and I at 16 were rebels. No self-respecting adults wanted to be around us.

To my surprise, my son’s friends were delightful. They had the run of one part of the house the entire day, while I kept food and liquid coming. They played online games, outdoor games, jumped on the trampoline, took photos of themselves, played music, and sang in harmony together the entire day. In the afternoon they demolished an entire chocolate cake and then left en masse to buy supplies from the supermarket, returning an hour later to cook a feast. So lively, so fun, were they, I even missed them in their absence.

In the late afternoon, the girls drifted home. Finally, just “Da boys” remained, playing online games into the evening, still singing in beautiful harmony along with their favourite songs. By the time Da boys left, I felt tired but mostly buoyed by the experience.

They’re mature, considerate kids. Who knew?

That said, they’re still only 16. They still like to play games the same way they did when they were little, but with a lot of music, singing, slang and posturing thrown in. The energy levels when these teen buddies get together can ramp up suddenly, get inexplicably loud for a short period—almost explosive—then peter out again and dip so low the kids appear to retreat behind their phone screens for a while to reboot, becoming temporarily tomb-like and silent, before the shrieks and the laughter escalate and they flare into life, noise and energy all over again. To be around them even for a short period is akin to putting one’s finger into an electric socket, recharging every cell in the body and rendering one’s hair into an instant afro. It’s vitalizing and frenetic at the same time.  

The upshot overall was the day was easy, no drama. As their humble servant, I got to witness snippets of their group dynamic, the teen slang, the weird sounds they make when they’re together, which was fun.

I remember the heady freedom of being 16. You’re old enough to do things but young enough to be silly and not care who is watching.

There was one of son’s friends singing that very Michael Jackson, high-pitched, “Hee hee!” so frequently I nearly asked him to stop (although thankfully, I didn’t). One boy hugged his phone and speaker the entire day, constantly scrolling the music selection – he was clearly in charge of the music selection. There was the occasional daring use of a swear word, but not loud enough for me to discern. I turned a blind eye, regardless. As head provider of refreshments, I stayed in my quarters – the perfect excuse to get some writing done – and let the teens have the house for the day. Some freedom was all they wanted. They often burst outside to play Frisbee, badminton, shoot hoops and jump on the trampoline for hours in the afternoon, which rather impressed me.

I think your child’s friends say a lot about who they are and how they’re doing, and I liked the son’s friends a lot. That made me happy.

At sixteen, I was a fool. At the same age, my son is smarter, more mature, and more emotionally intelligent than I am. Maybe there’s hope for the future, yet.

Talk to you later.

Keep creating!

Yvette Carol


There’s nothing wrong with teenagers that reasoning with them won’t aggravate. ~ Anonymous


*Tips for parents on Stanford Children’s Health, Understanding the Teen Brain

  1. davidprosser says:

    I read this as a perfect piece of fiction as I can’t get my head round you being much more than 16 yourself Yvette.
    Huge Hugs
    ps You must have earned huge kudos as a cool parent that day with all the friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Keith says:

    Yvette, great reflection and contrast. As a parent, one of the greatest joys is when your kids’ friends come over and you hear them laughing upstairs. We always wanted that kind of house but it, of course, brings a wonderful chaos. You likely were more mature than you remember, but it sounds like you have raised a fine young man. Best wishes on his future (and yours). There will be moments of hair pulling, but the joy will outweigh that. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Keith. Yes, I think kids are really hard work when they’re under the age of ten, but then they continue to be hard work in other ways throughout their teen years as well. they leave a trail of mess after them. Then you hear them having innocent fun with their friends and laughing uproariously and you realize what’s important in life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful post, Yvette. Yes, I remember being 16. I was far too serious. Wish I could go back and reassure that young woman. My boys were free of worry and stress. I think they remember being 16 fondly. They had the world on a string. Adulthood was a shock.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Joylene! That’s a good piece of advice. I wish I could have told my younger self that one. I like those articles where the authors write to their younger selves to give them advice. That is such a great idea. I would give my younger self the same advice my speech evaluator gave me yesterday at Toastmasters – ‘Relax more.’


  4. Dear Yvette. Thank you for this snippet of teenagers’ delight. Glad it went well. However, based on your photograph, I do not think for a moment that you were less mature at 16. Judging by your eyes, I can already see all the hard earned wisdom and insight of the author to be. So mature, way beyond 16 I would say. Today you have retained the joy and kindness, as well as the wisdom of your younger self, matured into a delicious seasoned wine. Take care and keep sharing your thoughts, reviews and stories. First tome nearly finished….. Will now start perusing the MAP. Daughter (23, middle one) pressuring me, she wants to gobble up the trilogy too….

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Dear Susan, wow, I read your comment with such a big smile on my face. You know what, I never thought of my younger self that way before. You’ve definitely influenced me to look back at it differently. Thanks for all your kind words.
      It’s exciting to think you are reading my trilogy, and it’s brilliant to hear your daughter wants to read it,next. Whoopee! I’m most eager to hear your family feedback when you’re finished. 🙂 Read on! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Yvette. Posted my review of book one on Goodreads , sent to friends/fellow writers and wrote post on my blog. Unfortunately do not have access anymore to post a review on Amazon UK 🇬🇧…. Sorry. Take care. Wishing you a lovely week and keep those newsletters coming, always a joy to read.


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