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Monday, June 28, 2010

A Teenager… My Teenager

My teenager sleeps…and sleeps…and sleeps! She's got scientific evidence that it is what teenagers do, from a teacher at her school. Teenagers have a different sleep pattern than most humans, she tells me. They stay up late, sleep until noon ( if left undisturbed) and wake with a sour taste in their mouth for the day. This sour taste is only remedied by a large bowl of Cocoa Puffs or Captain Crunch. It is amazing to watch!!

If given the proper motivation, a teenager can do amazing things. And, they will, completely surprise you on occasion, I truly think, just for their folly. Take for example, this past evening at our house…

Wait, first, I must give my teenager the credit she is due. It is much from her that I found the courage to start this blog. It is much because of her that I enjoy reading and writing again, too. She's got the gift, and, I guess, in some small way, I'm thinking this is something we share—now, if I tell her this, it will be over. Because, she is a teenager. So, please, keep my secret!

Okay, so, I have been giving this some thought. I have been thinking, should I be writing about my teenager? Not because I think she won't approve or because there is some "privacy" issue, no. But, because, when I listen to some of those moms out there, I wonder…"Really?" Someone's teenager actually cleans their room and does the dishes because it is on a chart on the frig. "Really?!" But, without going down that road too much further, I have decided that yes, I will be writing of my teenager – I will fully disclose that I believe we live in an "Erma Bombeck" environment more so than a "Leave it to Beaver/Wally you're the greatest" environment. So, with that said, I will tell you the story of last night…

My husband and I, a few months back, in the middle of winter, at a fundraiser for JDRF, decided to bid on some Water park passes, thinking this was a magnanimous gesture on our part – giving money to a fantastic cause, and, thinking of our girls and all the fun they'd have at the water park. At the last minute, before the bidding closed, I threw down that last bid to seal the deal! Yes! Victory was ours! Wouldn't this be great?! (*Note to all: when bidding on passes for a water park, see if you can check the expiration date!) Yes, we won. And, this weekend, I took out our tickets with the summer in full bloom and thought we'd plan our trip. I'm a planner, I need to PLAN. The tickets popped out of the envelope all yellow and bright and sunny! This was going to be great! Okay, two passes, ( remember, two passes, that's important) all-inclusive. Expiration date: end of June. Whaaaat?!! Uh-oh. That's three days from now, people!

So, not to be discouraged, I moved into action. Hubby, you're out. Can't go, gotta work. Girls…bring a friend? Go as a "girls day" w/just the girls and me? Ah-ha! I know, let's use this as a wonderful learning experience and pose the situation to the girls (10 and 14) and see what they come up with! I know, you're all shaking your heads. Where were you yesterday when I was trying to be mom of the year with rose-colored glasses on?! To give my hubby credit, he tried to stop me, but, then he said it didn't really matter to him since he wasn't going, so, then, he just watched…

The girls came outside to the gazebo and they were already thinking I was going to assign chores. Yeah! I thought in my little mind, this is great—I am totally going to surprise them and this will be great! So, I gleefully tell them the news! We have two water park passes and we just need to figure out how we're going to use them! Do you want to just hop in the ol' car and go, or, do you want to try to bring a friend along? One thing to consider: the trip must happen either Monday or Tuesday because life is just not that dull around our house that we have more than two days in a row to work with. Chop chop, let's go!! Here's what happened:

My youngest says , in the sweet voice of a ten year old, "I'm good with going with Sarah." A smile wide and bright at the possibility of going to a water park with her sister for the day. But, wait. My oldest says, in just as sweet a voice as the ten year old, "Well, Caitie can take a friend with my ticket. I don't need to go." I'm letting you read that again so it can sink in. In one fell swoop my teenager took my legs out from underneath me. She was being so generous, to her sister…but, wait…her sister is in dismay…no, she just told her sister she would rather not go than spend the day with her at a water park! Wait! This isn't the way it was supposed to turn out…waaaiiiitttt!

Okay, little sister, go get a drink of water, big sister, "What is up?!" Well, it took approximately sixty seconds for my teenager to simply state, she probably wouldn't be able to find a friend on short notice, and, "no offense", she didn't want to spend hours in the car and the whole day with her family. Yeah. No offense taken.

Really, I have gotten used to being shunned in the light of day by my teenager. It is, what some teenagers do to their parents. I know this because I am pretty sure I did this to my parents and this is the proverbial "Payback" they always talked about!! But, my teenager, she's goooood! She used that razor-sharp mind to think through that scenario and realize all the points: all day with her family was inevitable. Not going to happen. And, she was right. We tried to change her mind and quick as a wink she texted the one friend she thought might be able to swing a ticket and permission at the drop of a hat. Lightening fast, the conversation was had, the friend could not go, and, it was down to me and my 10 year old going to the water park. She looked at me with a forlorn gaze. My ten year old doesn't want to hurt my feelings, and, she can't think as fast as the teenager, so, she couldn't think of a friend that could possibly go. And, truth be told, neither could I. Right now she's got one friend on crutches, one with a nasty rash and one out of town. Another who doesn't like big rides..she was doomed. It was me and her, or…

She was brave. She put on that little smile and gave me a huge hug and said she wanted to go with me. It would be a date of sorts. But, I knew…so, I said, let's sleep on it and see how things go. She made one last ditch effort to corral her sister into going with us, but, as teenagers do, mine stood firm. She was kind, though, and just ignored the request, deep in the pages of her latest romance novel.

So, here we are this morning. I could make my girls hop in the car, drive to the water park and I could make them have a good time, darn it! Or, I could crawl in beside my pretending-to-be-sleeping ten year old and whisper in her ear, "How about we wait until the whole family can go? Would you like that?" A smile creeps across her face and she nods her head in agreement, a sigh of relief just so slightly evident to me. I swear to fight the "Family Fun Day" battle another day. I hug her tight, go to my teenager's room, pull up her covers, come out to make coffee and check on the Cocoa Puffs.

My hubby will be happy, too. He loves those waterslides!

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