Popular opinion = my 14-year-old daughter.
Very, very, VERY long ago, I too had angst, constant attitude (sorry mom and dad) and fresh cramps.
Serious fresh cramps.
Hence the constant attitude….duh.
So I get it.
Except when I don’t.
In the worst teenage pregnancy dissuasion conversation ever, the point I am trying to make here is this: have your children as soon as you can AFTER getting your schooling/career choice/marriage taken care of.
Because the older you get, the more distance you put between your teen years and your child’s.
I have become what we all fear.
Calling their house only to hear their dad pick up the phone then quickly slam the phone down.
Slam a phone down is probably a foreign term for you.
Oh, what I would have given for Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook back in 1984.
Not exactly “there” but theoretically “there”.
I see some similarities.
You don’t have to struggle with acne.
You are welcome.
You have amazing friends.
So did I.
You love music and know all the names of all the artists that are popular.
Like, freakishly know all the names.
I am the master.
Which I learned from the grand master, my dad, your papa.
Would you have talked to me in high school?
Or would you have passed me in the hall, smiling brightly but never getting to know me?
Would we have been in the same classes?
Would we order the same things at lunch?
At 14, I loved to ski, loved to stay at home on winter weeknights and snuggle with my dog.
I was really good at playing the clarinet, had lots of hobbies and tons of friends but I felt like I blended in at school.
In a crowd of people, it was easy for me to just get lost.
I still feel like that.
Do you ever feel that way?
|Blending in. Even in a student council picture.|
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….it totally did.
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 I blended in.|
At 14, I wore earrings the size of bagels, button-up shirts, and penny loafers.
Sweaters with unicorns or kitty cats bouncing purple balls IT WAS THE 80’s EVERYONE WAS WEARING THEM.
Corduroy pants, jeans with lots of pockets, feathered hair.
I am sure my parents cheered when feathered hair went away because haircut every four weeks.
You know, to keep the feathers laying just so.
Kind of the way we are counting the days until short shorts go away.
|…or wear them all at once. Penny loafers? Check. White socks? Check. Unicorn sweater? Check. I look like the Caucasian Michael Jackson.|
I also wore a sweatshirt from the Cleveland Home and Garden show a lot my freshman year.
I don’t know why but for some reason I loved this sweatshirt and it wasn’t even a really cool sweatshirt.
In fact, looking back I can’t recall it being any different than most sweatshirts I owned.
It was one day while sitting in band that 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 wonder 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 was still very close to my parents.
I didn’t go to band camp this year because I was too afraid to leave home for an entire week.
AN ENTIRE WEEK?!?!
I also didn’t go on the French class trip to Quebec for this very same reason.
I can hear you sighing really, really loudly at this.
And apparently, I also liked to dress up my dog as witnessed above.
But it was New Year’s Eve!
Me 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.
|Wendy and I on the last day of eighth grade. We didn’t have a graduation, just shaving cream.|
I had amazing friends who I could belch, fart and be a weirdo with, exactly like the friends I have today.
They didn’t judge me, accepted me the way I was and helped to form the person I have become..
My childhood best friend Wendy’s infectious laugh is part of the reason I love to make people laugh to this day.
She lived five houses down the street from me and we were inseparable until graduation tore us apart.
You had bumps in the road but you have amazing friendships that have developed since starting high school, some from elementary school and you have your own “Wendy” who lives just across the street.
|Talking about how the pizza crust looks like brains. IT DID.|
I wore musk perfume, had stellar big bangs and always wore blue eyeshadow.
I danced and sweated for hours to “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan in my room behind locked doors.
I was desperately in love with many different boys but didn’t have a single boyfriend.
Probably because I was very busy perfecting my Chaka Khan moves and the whole dog dressing up scenario.
I made mix tapes from songs on the radio on rainy summer days.
roller skated through the neighborhood with my friends while listening
to the “Footloose” soundtrack on a boom box.
I played basketball for countless hours in
the driveway with my dad, sometimes even in the dark.
Really, aside from the doggy party hats and unicorn sweaters, we aren’t that different, you and I.
Oh sure, there are generational differences but monumentally, for as much as things change they also stay the same.
There is no doubt that it has been challenging, these teenage years so far.
Personally, I feel this time around is so much harder.
Going through it on the other side of things as a parent.
There have been lots of tears, yelling and many a sleepless night.
And that has been on my end.
It has been quite an education….speak
only when spoken to while around your friends, don’t hug you when we
are in public, don’t wear anything embarrassing to school functions.
It’s been hard, I am not gonna lie.
I know someday I will get you back.
I hold onto the promise of a day where I can grab your hand in public and just pull you in close.
Not worrying about who is watching.
But for now, 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 OK.