JUST TO LET YOU KNOW….
We’ve called you six times on your cell phone and you haven’t picked up. We’ve texted you double that amount and have gotten no reply. We’ve even resorted to figuring out how to take a picture of ourselves and snapping it to you. Obviously we must really want to get your attention if we’ve sent a SnapChat without knowing how to use one of those flattering filters; you know the one with the cute bunny ears? Maybe the next time you acknowledge our existence we can get a quick tutorial.
We don’t know how else to get through to you but rest assured we’re never giving up; so sit down and let’s have this talk again for the eight thousandth time. First of all, take those God damn AirPods out of your ears for at least five minutes to focus on what we have to say. Oh, you only wear them in one ear because it’s cooler than having them in both at the same time? Oh, you can hear us perfectly fine? Well guess what? Too fucking bad. We said take them out of your ear(s) for five minutes to focus on what we have to say. We don’t want you to just hear us. We want you to listen to us!There’s a difference. Ugh, see what we mean? We didn’t want to start this off with yelling but you leave us no choice. Give us the AirPods…. NOW!
Look, we love you. Everything we’re about to say comes from a place of love. It’s because we love you, not in spite of loving you that we gotta say, we kinda can’t stand you lately. Why do you insist on behaving the way you do? Why must we say the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over until you push us to the point of no return? Why do you think it’s a punishment when we tell you to brush your teeth? Do you want to have bad breath? Do you want to get cavities? Why do you look confused when we ask if you’ve made your bed? You can’t possibly think it’s the first time you’ve heard us tell you we want it made every day, right? Haven’t we gone over the rules about putting away the clean laundry we’ve already folded for you? Why is it so hard to rinse the dish out instead of waiting for your [Fairy God] Mother to sweep in to clean up the left over cereal that’s now cemented itself to the bottom of the filthy sink? Why do you give us such a hard time when we tell you to shut down the FaceTime with your friends because you still haven’t finished your homework? Why is it you’ve had such ease memorizing every statistic backwards and forwards of every professional athlete across the board and every word to every song of that horrendous rap music you listen to but you can’t remember to simply bring up the garbage can from the curb on Tuesdays?
Why? Just why?
Are you trying to torture us? Because if you are it’s working. If torturing was a middle school class, you’d be getting an A+. Maybe the A+ in torturing would offset your decline in conduct according to your most current report card. We’re sure you think we are morons when it comes to anything technology related but did you know we are well aware how to check your grades online? Hmmm. So about your conduct, what’s that about?
The relationship with a parent and a pubescent is tricky. We don’t want to feel like we’re walking on egg shells with you and we’re sure you don’t want to feel like you’re living under the regime of Mom Jong-un who’s threatening to press the button on the Rage Mode Missile every time you piss her off. Right?
Respect is key. It’s mandatory for survival in this home and so is keeping the lines of communication open. Why? Because we love you and we need to know what’s going on. At this stage of your life we aren’t supposed to be friends per se; we aren’t equals. We’re the parents and you’re the pubescents. There’s a fine line between being the Black Hawk helicopter parents and the Huh? parents who are somehow notorious for being completely clueless. We don’t want to constantly hover (for fear our own parents will chime in and offer their opinions on how us unpolished Gen-Xers coddle their kids too much) but you must know you can confide in us about anything. We will never get angry at you for telling the truth. We won’t be mad; We’ll be grateful you trusted us enough to share. But if you lie, we can guarantee being dishonest will result in a far worse consequence than whatever you were trying to cover up in the first place. Do you understand? Tell us you understand. Look at us when we’re talking to you.
No, you can’t have your AirPods back. We’re not done. C’mon, don’t roll your eyes. This is serious.
Speaking of understanding, we’re trying so hard to understand why one minute you’re a pleasure and the next you’re a punk. We’re pretty sure it’s the hormones. The fury of hormones is a real thing and we suspect to some degree maybe you yourself don’t even know why one minute you’re incredibly moody and the next you’re a mush. Yah, that’s probably it. Let’s blame it on the hormones. We can’t wait for this phase to be over. We’re praying you’re almost through it so we can get more of the sweetie and less of the sulky!
Oh, let’s go over the vaping topic again, shall we? We know we’ve talked about it before the school year started, but it’s critical so let’s dive in again. Remember when you were little and we’d be at a red light and you’d see someone smoking a cigarette and you would tell us how disgusting you thought it was to even be in the vicinity of smoke? We want to remind you that cigarette smoking is still disgusting and it still kills people and vaping is even worse. We’re sure it’s just a matter of time before you’re in a situation where it’s gonna come up, if it hasn’t already. And then comes the other drugs and alcohol too. Lord, have mercy on our souls.
We are [unpolishedly] pleading with you, to think before you act.
Think. Before. You. Act.
Think. Before. You. Act.
Are you listening to us? Tell us you’re listening.
We’re having a heart attack right now just imagining these things but as your parents we have to talk to you about them. It’s our job to drill it into your head. Actions have consequences. Whether you believe it or not, we were teenagers way back when so we know about social pressures. We know how hard it can be; really we do. And in today’s world these social pressures are the catalyst for depression that is running rampant amongst young kids. It’s devastating to hear about children who seemingly had bright futures ahead of them only to be cut short because their distraught emotions led them into a state of darkness; permanent darkness. Please, please, pleazzzzzze think before you act. Don’t ever let the evil voices of fear drown out the more powerful sounds of love and support that surround you. Sometimes the sounds of love and support may mimic the sounds of a nagging parent, but I promise those sounds are the unconditional lyrics of someone who will never let you down.
Listen, we totally get we’re not allowed to devour you anymore with hugs and kisses in front of your friends. We completely agree it’s not okay to call you our delicious little peanut butter cup yum ball anymore when we’re in public. We got the memo about you wanting us to stop screaming the loudest from the sidelines when you’re playing on the field. We’re on board with knocking before coming into your room. We got it. Loud and clear. But with that said, we’re begging you to let us in a bit. Just answer us when we say “Hi, how was your day?” It’s not that difficult to do. And frankly, completely ignoring another human being regardless if it’s your parents or not when you’re being directly spoken to kinda makes you an asshole. Please, don’t be an asshole. We know beggars can’t be choosers so we’re not asking for a long, detailed response; we’re just asking for any response. Any response at all will suffice. Well, except for one word answers. They don’t have to be long and drawn out, but can you at least talk to us in a complete sentence? Can you try to do that? Thank you.
Look, if we’re being totally honest we’re gonna come clean about something. We’ve never parented a teenage kid before. We’re not sure how any of it works. We wish we did, but we don’t. The same way you’re trying to figure it out on your end, well that’s how all of us parents are trying to figure it out on our end too. There’s no manual to read; there’s no crash course to take. The only thing we do know with certainty is we’re committed to doing the very best job we can to make sure you never question our devotion to you. Of course there’s stuff you have to learn on your own; that’s part of growing up. Of course there’s times you’re going to fail; that’s part of learning to be strong enough to get up and try again. Of course there’s gonna be drama with your friends but that’s part of working it out until it passes and when it does, and it will, you’ll be ready to face the next inevitable hurdle that’s bound to ensue.
Life is full of challenges no matter how old we are; that likely won’t change. But what can change is how we handle the path uphill. It seems no one really believes the view from Pubescent Peak isn’t as breathtaking as you were
misled to think until you’re already mid-hike and have to see it for yourself, but knowing you never have to climb all the way to the tippy top of Teenage Mountain without the safety net of love and support and guidance and trust and honesty [from your parents] should help.
We can only hope in your heart of hearts and harnessed in the depth of your gut, you know you are never alone. We will always be here, no matter what. No. Matter. What.
We love you endlessly.
P.S. No one is looking. It’s just us. Can we give you a hug now? We’ll trade you one big, strong hug for your AirPods back! Deal?