Contrary to popular opinion, I used to be 14 years old too.
Popular opinion = my 14-year-old daughter.
VERY long ago, I, too had attitude and angst.
So I get it.
Unless, of course, when I don’t.
In the worst teenage pregnancy dissuasion conversation ever, the point I’m trying to make here is this: have your children as soon as you can AFTER taking care of your schooling/career choice.
Don’t put it off.
Because the older you get, the greater the gap between your teen years and those of your child.
I have turned into the very thing I feared; a parent.
Calling their house, only to hear their dad pick up the phone and then I would quickly slam the phone down in embarrassment.
Slam a phone down is probably a foreign term for you.
What I would have given in 1984 for Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.
I see some parallels.
You don’t have acne.
You have great friends.
You love music.
Would you have talked to me in high school?
Or would you have walked past me in the hall?
Would we have been in the same classes?
Would we order the same things at lunch?
In a crowd of people, it was easy for me to just get lost, go unnoticed.
I still feel like that.
Do you ever feel that way?
|Trying to blend in.|
At 14, I was always trying to make people laugh, even at the expense of looking like a goofball.
Making jokes about the school pizza looking like brains.
Sneaking up behind friends in the hall and scaring them.
Ruining the French Club school picture with my friend Jenny…
|We never got in trouble for this. Probably because we blended in.|
At 14, I wore earrings the size of bagels, button-up shirts, and penny loafers.
Sweaters with unicorns and kitty cats bouncing purple balls. IT WAS THE 80’s EVERYONE WAS WEARING THEM.
Corduroy pants, jeans with lots of pockets, feathered hair.
|Penny loafers? Check. White socks? Check. Unicorn sweater? Check. I look like the Caucasian Michael Jackson.|
When I was 14, I wore a sweatshirt from the Cleveland Home and Garden show a lot that year.
I don’t know why, but I liked this sweatshirt for some reason and it wasn’t even a really cool sweatshirt.
In fact, looking back, I can’t recall it being any different from the other sweatshirts I owned.
One day while sitting in band I had an AHA moment.
An “umm. I wear this sweatshirt a lot” moment.
A “people are going to start thinking I don’t wash it” moment.
I’m curious if you think about these things.
Do you talk to yourself about your clothing choices?
|Spending New Year’s Eve putting party hats on dogs.|
When I was 14, I didn’t go to band camp because I was too afraid to leave home for an entire week.
I also didn’t go on the French class trip to Quebec for the same reason.
I can hear you sighing loudly as you read this.
And, as evidenced above, I evidently liked dressing up my dog.
Spending New Year’s Eve my freshman year dressing up the dog is probably one of the many reasons I was spending New Year’s Eve with my dog in the first place.
|Talking about how the pizza crust looks like brain matter. Because it did.|
When I was 14, I wore musk perfume, I had stellar big bangs, and always wore blue eyeshadow and matching blue mascara.
In my room, I danced and sweated to songs like “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan behind locked doors. It was my first form of therapy.
I was madly in love with several boys but didn’t have a single relationship.
I made mix tapes from songs I heard on the radio when stuck inside on rainy summer days.
I loved roller skating through the neighborhood with my friends, while listening
to the “Footloose” soundtrack on a boom box laying in the grass.
I spent countless hours playing basketball in the driveway with my dad, sometimes even in the dark.
Really, aside from the doggy party hats and unicorn sweaters, you and I aren’t that different.
There is no doubt that these teenage years have been challenging so far.
There have been lots of tears, yelling, and sleepless nights.
It’s been quite an education-speak only when spoken to in the presence of friends, don’t hug you when we are in public, and don’t wear anything embarrassing to school functions.
I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard.
I hold onto the promise of a day where I can grab your hand in public and pull you in close, not worrying about who is watching.
But for the time being, I will steal sideways glances.
Gazing at this amazing creature that I had a hand in bringing into this world.
Remembering that I was 14 once too.
And I turned out pretty okay.