Welcome…the the first installation of “Teenagers are Assholes”…….I hope you find humor, strength, vindication or just plain support……
I have a beautiful daughter who loved me and thought I was cool. (And, you know what….I am cool: I have the pic of me and Steven Tyler to prove it; my friend’s son plays Lacrosse with Jacoby Shaddix’s son; and another friend – a band manager – received a personal call from Ron Jeremy asking for tickets to an upcoming show…..friend had to tell Ron, “NO”; I can light a cigarette on the back of a moving motorcycle; and, I can drink 2 shots at one time. Coolness personified….even if I am the only one who thinks so.) We discussed music at length, liked similar shows, and discussed boys. We were not friends…but, she wanted to talk to me.
Then one dark day…..she coiled up like a rattler and took many bites at me…..the poison made my eyes sting with tears, my heart bruise with pain and my head pop off. I am still recovering…especially since every other day or so…she strikes again.
From the moment she was born, she has filled my life with light and love and joy (even that day when she was 5 and I was taking her to counseling because of the divorce…she was in her car seat in the back of the car yelling, ”you ruined my perfect life.” She was 5!!!! I should have known then what was coming up.) She was a happy, smiley kid who was well adjusted. She has continued to amaze and impress me with her talent, her wit, her drive, her motivation and her just plain ability to be “Awesome”.
Freshman year…..first 3 months….all good…she loves school and her classes and her friends and me……then……there was a mini (or not so mini) explosion of hormones and ….. No…..teenagers are assholes.
I am not sure if it is funny or sad that she reminds me exactly of me at that age. For years I have sworn and told people that I have not had that “moment” in my life, where I felt the need to apologize to my parents or, my mother in particular. She was difficult….all of my siblings and family can attest. And, she has been gone for almost 20 years….I have no anger, frustration or unresolved issues with her. She did the best she could. I learned a lot. And I love and miss her. I would take her back in a second….but, my life is infinitely easier with her not in it.
A month or so ago, I showed up to a school performance of my daughter’s. Apparently she told everyone and I’m the only one that thought I should go (please note…..I can walk to her school in less time than it would take to drive and park…..so I walked). I wasn’t going to do anything…just watch her one short performance and leave. When I got there she was happy, talking to her friends looked to be enjoying high school. Until her eyes found mine…she instantly frowned and went into “I hate my mom…she disgusts me face”. Hmmmm…this was just days after she told me I was lazy and just wanted to suck money from her dad. Well…..hell. What is a mom to do? I don’t want to miss anything she does….I already miss so much (divorce). And I don’t want to make life harder for her. I had seen that face before. Well…..I didn’t actually “see” it…..I wore it. Everyday for 2.5 years when my mom drove me to and from school….10 miles away. A private college prep school. That was not cheap. In a nice car…..so…I wore that face for my tireless mom who drove me in the lap of luxury to another lap….of luxury and privilege. And for that offense….I made that face for her. Every day. And…when I got in the car I was a joy. I looked out the window, counted the trees and treated her like the ridiculous crazy bitch she was. You know….tireless…twice a day…uprooting herself twice a day. That kind of lazy bitch. My friends rode the bus. The RT bus. With people that smelled and spoke to themselves. Life sucked for me. No wonder they bought me a car so I could drive myself. I am sure it wasn’t because I was a snot…..it was because Mom was too lazy to drive me. What a total little bitch.
So….with Mom gone…I call Dad to ask if I was as mean to him and Mom when I was a teenager. He said no…..of course, he takes meds for Alzheimer’s because he can’t remember anything……
Aah……I don’t want to be this for my kids…I don’t want to be hated, feared, and treated with the gloves of frustration. I will practice….listening without planning response and not reacting/responding immediately….to be calm and take a step back. Especially when I am ambushed.
The issue for me is…..I don’t want to make her life more difficult. I don’t want her to be unhappy or freaked out. But….fuck….she is mean. And, I am still her parent. Please note….this was just a whine. I know she is struggling with a lot. High school teenagerdom. Parents. Siblings, divorce, moving, etc….tough stuff.
Parenthood reminds me everyday that I do not know what I am doing and that I am failing miserably……..