Tag Archives: teenage daughters

Girls’ll Getcha

medusa


So I had the indescribable pleasure of viewing a few minutes of an MTV show which finds a young man looking for love while living in his parents’ basement.  I am so not kidding.  How great is that? Think The Bachelor with a really (really) small production budget.  And a set of parents judging the girls from their living room sofa.   Hilarity.

My point:  for a suspended moment in time I shared a laugh with my teenage daughter and well, it’s been awhile.  Thank God there are programs like these to keep us connected.

It’s been a long and difficult (understatement) month with her and I’m happy to report (exhale) that I see a light at the end of my tunnel.  Either that or I’m confusing the gleam with another locomotive heading straight towards me (likely being driven by a teenager).

Got girls?  Get wine.

I’ve survived the first of probably many teenage tsunamis with her and I’m still treading lightly as it fades to distant memory behind us.  If I was unsure about our outcome before, I can now say with certainty at least one of us has moved on:  she asked me tonight if she could join her friends in getting belly-button piercings for their fifteenth birthdays this year.

The old me (from 30 days ago) would’ve raised an eyebrow and twisted my grin into a spit of sarcasm (“Suuuuuure…let’s get matching ones”) but the new me is realizing the teenage brain filters simple conversations into odd, hormonal minefields.  I raised an eyebrow, took a breath and paused.

“I’m not ready to talk about this right now,” was all I said.

“Okay, but will you at least think about it?”  Cue in cautious nod.  She walked away, humming.

See?  I detected that bad boy before detonation.  Apocalypse averted.

I’ll think about my reasoning before I get back to her (do I really care?  wouldn’t it look great on her cute figure? didn’t my own mom let me get those ugly new Nikes with the yellow swish when I begged?  again, do I seriously even care about this?).  I’ve got some time to ponder.

We learn and we move forward.  I’m learning — well, trying — to not jump to conclusions, or rush to judgment or bite down too hard on my inner cheek (because that takes awhile to heal and screws up my fondness for hot wings).  And maybe she’s learning that her mother isn’t as ridiculous or unfair as she imagines.  FIngers crossed.

Boys are clueless bottomless pits of gas.  They just want to be fed on their trek to the next game level.  Simple stuff.  Girls are hard-wired for irrational and emotional fits of lunacy.  They simmer, spout and burst when you least expect it.  I’ve coined this stage My Elephant Years:  Of Thick Skin and Grey Hairs……

So these days I’m comforted by daily doses of idiocy that I come across.  Quick fix:  If you ever want to feel really, really good about your parenting skills simply click onto MTV at any given time or google Lindsay Lohan.  See?  Much better.

Finally, from my sister:  How do you make a car full of 12-year-old girls giggle uncontrollably in a car?  Tell them that in high school you dated a boy named Kenny Balz.

There’s always ways to connect to the crazed teenage girl.  Clearly you’ve just gotta be creative.

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. –

Good one, Kel.

“… ‘cuz when you’re fifteen …”

mean girls

My little girl turns 15 today and I am (weirdly? surprisingly? vaklempt-ly?) emotional about it.  I didn’t get this way with my firstborn (a son) and I imagine I won’t get this way with the younger boys either (because naturally I have confidence they will both reach every year of adolescence with a Nerf sword in hand).  And my feelings have little to do with my daughter’s incessant request for a belly button ring.  (An aside:  I really don’t have an issue with this – call it admirable jealousy:  I clearly didn’t have her cute figure when I was a freshman.  Nope, she’s battling her dear ol’ dad on this one.)  Yet I’m strangely flooded with pensive memories of the significance of this milestone.

Fifteen was a good year for me.  My two closest girlfriends at that age are still in my life today and hugely important to me.  I make my daughter aware of this often.  Fifteen was also the year my tender heart was broken for the very first time (oy vey, Adam Boyar), cementing my lifelong attraction to funny, Jewish guys (which clearly explains my utter enjoyment in Ben Stiller and Jon Stewart but curiously casts a light on my eventual choice in soul mate – a Greek/Puerto Rican/Catholic charmer…). Hmmm….

Still, everybody knows: fifteen today is waaaaay different than fifteen of then.

I feel for her.

I fear for her.

And I forever wish that her good sense remains unclouded when the rains fall and heartache beckons.

For her birthday, along with the designer sneakers and other items (that WILL be returned, I am sure of it) I got her something special.   I commissioned a handmade pen and ink calligraphy of her favorite song, “Fifteen” by Taylor Swift.   It is a song I am unable to listen to in its entirety without tearing up (“…..and Abigail gave everything she had to a boy…who changed his mind…”).   It was meticulously crafted onto pale pink parchment paper and was framed to match her bedroom.  It is beautiful.

And taped to the back of it is a card from the artist – my best friend at fifteen – who devilishly inserted a photo of the two of us, arms entwined, from 1981.

Proof that true friendships last.

Proof that strong beautiful teenaged girls survive fifteen.

Proof that even though tempers flare and hatred is hurled, our moms are always, always, always going to love us.  And cry at songs that remind us of being a girl.

Happy Birthday, my sassy, sharp, and stunning Carson.  You are the light in my life (and one day you’re going to laugh when you find out your dad has nicknamed you “The Fury” during this oh-so-fun time in your life).

2014 Update:  Fours years later, my lady, my love, is a college sophomore today.  She survived fifteen with grace and wisdom that carried her through sixteen, then seventeen, and eighteen and finally nineteen years old.  She surprised me with an impromptu visit from college tonight — her first time home since August.   I am happy beyond words and — apparently — feeling a little nostalgic. xoxo

cklove

College Bound: Gone Like a Freight Train

college bound

 

“She

(we gave her most of our lives)

Is leaving

(sacrificed most of our lives)

home.”

The Beatles

 

 

“She’s gone, I’d better learn how to face it.

She’s gone, I’d pay the devil to replace her.”

Hall and Oates

 

 

“Gone like a freight train.”

Montgomery Gentry

 

 

 

 

The girl has left the building.

 

Off to her tenth floor dorm room in the most congested section of her rolling and rural D1 campus.  There might be more occupants on her floor than were in her graduating class.

 

She is stoked, on her way to change the world and no one – no one – who knows her is surprised.

 

She spent her last summer here like a ghost.  Working around the clock with her three jobs, I’d sometimes go a couple of days with only the smell of her shampoo whizzing past me.

 

She was a blur.

 

Looking back I realize it was probably the world’s cosmic balance that did this, forcing me to get used to her not being around.

 

She’s been restless on her journey out of adolescence and that restlessness had been swelling at a NASCAR pace.  By the time the last of the graduation party fire pits had smoldered she was done with her insignificant, small town.

 

I get that (she is her mother’s daughter after all).

 

I waited a couple days after we dropped her off before venturing into her room.  To be completely honest, I could’ve gone in with a steam cleaner or a backhoe (cue in knowing nod from every mother of a teenage daughter).   It was baaaaaad.   I had bitten my tongue the last few weeks of summer because I just wanted a nice, argument-free send off.  It was stressful enough just getting to departure day so I let the room go into zombie apocalypse/Area 51 locale.

 

Still, as the hours ticked away on her final night at home, I could tell her anxiety was revving — as witnessed by the psychotic and shrill “WHERE’S MY INSURANCE CARD????   (and then, ten minutes later, barely audible), Oh, here it is…”

 

That happened a few times.

 

 

She left in a breathless whir of excitement and anticipation for a new chapter and it was everything the books say it should be:  melancholy, bittersweet, and (far be it for me to lie) a little bit of can’t-wait on both of our behalves.

 

I sent my oldest son off to the Air Force Reserves a couple of years ago so this certainly isn’t my first rodeo of shipping a kid off.  With him it was different, though.  Where she is restless, he was reckless.  Seriously, I never slept so well as the day he was safely nestled in boot camp (cue in knowing nod of every mom of a reckless teenage boy).  So I know a thing or two about missing my kids.

 

I find myself being so genuinely excited for her I don’t miss her as painfully as I thought I would.  She checks in often enough (way more than she did while she was here full time) she’s providing more detail about her experiences than even asked for, and basking in the pretend-grown-up-lifestyle that she’s been so desperately craving.  (To be clear, I am fully aware this will come back to kick me in the arse when she returns for winter and summer breaks.  I know the Rules?  What is this notion of rules you speak of?  litigation is percolating.  For sure, good times are a-comin’…

 

So while she’s gone I will wait patiently for her next call or text, and savor each tiny daily victory that finds me NOT rushing around like a madwoman each morning looking for my comb … or cream … or mascara … or beige sandals with the cork heels (why look for them when they are without question in her dorm room?).

 

 

For the time being there are no wet towels on her floor.

 

… yet I don’t have anyone to watch “Rock of Ages” with each and every time I find it on cable.

 

… and my heart feels a little pinging sensation when I realize – with surprising sadness – that I don’t have to special order a vegetarian dish when we order take-out.

 

… and I am decidedly NOT smelling expensive shampoo so much (Old Spice and Axe, yes.  Herbal Essence?  Nope.)

 

 

 

But I know she is only gone for a while.

 

And I miss her.  A lot.

 

 

As I was wrapping up this piece another text from her came through which read simply,

 

“I miss you guys.”

 

 

 

See that?

 

Maybe all that Lunatic-Fringe-Psycho-Mom-Get-Me-Outta-Here stuff isn’t brimming on the surface anymore.

 

Maybe she heard an 80s song from “Rock of Ages” and thought of me.

 

Maybe after getting my picture text, she’s a little excited to sleep in her clean room at Thanksgiving.

 

 

No matter the reason.  You know I’m saving the text.

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.

 

Missed the start of A Momoir? Catch up here:

Chapter 1, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Chapter 2, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

Chapter 3, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

Chapter 4, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/12/02/a-momoir-chapter-4-a-moms-plea-to-seth-rogen-enough-with-the-masturbation-already/

Chapter 5, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/04/20/a-momoir-chapter-5-the-magnitude-of-the-middle-aged-mom/

You Should Never Argue with a Crazy Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma, You Ought to Know By Now…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

I had four kids in seven years and right about now’s the time when that little stroke of brilliant timing (or lack thereof) is kicking me in the ass.   My youngest is 13 (I just watched him eat twice since dinner ended.  No.  Wait.  He here comes again…) and my oldest will be 21 in a few weeks (he believes that anything in the ballpark of that number gives him the green light to crack open beers in his room. Then throw the empties under his bed.  Yeah.  I may be down to three kids soon.  I  digress…).  Throw in a 15-year-old (who spends more time grooming himself than his five family members combined) and a free-your-mind, what’s-the-big-deal, 19-year-old college sophomore (who has yet to meet a house rule that “makes sense” to her) and you can see why I’ve gotten a bit testy this summer.

 

In a nutshell, I’ve got a crew of kids coming and going at all hours, eating incessantly and displaying less-than-favorable teenage behavior, all while leaving a trail of clothes-dishes-wrappers-towels-slop in their wake.  It’s making me see a shade of red which far surpasses the sunburn on my side boob (because really, isn’t there always that one spot you miss?).

 

Eventually though, somewhere in the dog days of summer (like now), when I have tripped over my final straw of strewn sneakers, my testiness turns into rage.

 

When my good nature is taken advantage of – I won’t sugarcoat – I get pissed.  I start to reflect on the good life I provide for them.  Then I think about all the cooking and cleaning I do, as if I’m running on some sort of masochistic hamster wheel.  Then I begin to fixate on all the things they don’t do (if only that damn dog didn’t don his invisibility fur all summer maybe, just maybe they would know he’s here!).  Then, finally, when I realize my simple house rules are broken to the point of parental ridicule, well then I become incensed.

 

Psycho Mom used to make an appearance during times like these.  She’d rant and rave and carry on like a crazy woman and take away electronics and ground any kid in her peripheral and maybe in time she’d regain control for a little while longer. These tactics still work for the teens; I’ve duly hidden my boys’ X-box until their summer reading is finished and one kid’s already lost his phone for the entire summer for being a dum-dum.  But as kids become older sometimes the game rules have to change.  If you’re raising your young adults like I am (see my 5 tips from an earlier post), your kids are already making financial contributions to your household.   It’s hard to ground a kid who’s driving around in his own car that’s insured by his own dollars.  Tricky indeed.

 

So now Ball-Buster Mom pops by instead to take over the disciplinary reins.  Example:

 

My husband and I recently took our two youngest away for the weekend, leaving the two young adults at home to proceed with their employment obligations, take care of the invisible dog and well, act like responsible young adults.  Left behind with them was a litany of clear (VERY clear) instructions and expectations.

About that…

 

I won’t bore with the details (hell, I’ve already been to this rodeo and have written about it here) but let’s just say that within six seconds of entering my home upon our return, the young adults were busted.

 

Friends staying over without our knowledge, approval or consent?  Check.  Partying like it was 1999?  (Despite your insistence to the contrary, that one little bottle cap under the toaster oven screams otherwise, so…again) Check.

 

 

So the guilty were charged accordingly.  Since they both used my home like a hotel room, they were each made to ante up the cost of one: $125 a piece.

 

As a receipt for their weekend play, they were given full disclosure and sage advice:  Should it ever happen again they’d likely be charged quadruple that amount and would find themselves on the needy side of some pretty hefty finances.  Last I checked, those student loans had co-signers on them.  Just sayin’.

 

 

So Ball-Buster Mom made $250.

 

She’s probably going to put it aside and use it to get to Long Island in September when her high school reunion takes place.  Then she’ll tell everyone this story and yuk it up with all her old friends who did the exact same thing back in the day.

 

 

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular, 1984” first on her list of achievements.  She takes on cyberspace @Eyerollingmom  and Eyerollingmom.

When Bad Kids Happen to Good Parents

NJ Teen

 

 

This NJ parent-suing-cheerleader case is making me see red.

Because it totally could have been me a few years ago.

I wouldn’t consider myself a mean mom, but I have been known to hand my kids a scraper and say “Get to work,” after finding dried boogers on the wall next to their beds.

 

Some days, parenting is easy.

 

Honor Roll allows a kid to keep a cell phone.

A clean bathroom gets another out the door on Friday night.

 

Clearly my parenting philosophy doesn’t involve much head-scratching so I have to admit, I was ready for the adolescence of my children.  Growing up on Long Island in the unsupervised 80s, my friends and I had mastered the art of outsmarting authority and evading evidence of typical teen shenanigans.

 

I had this, I thought.   Bring on the acne.

 

I never imagined it would culminate with a composed call to the police, asking them to come get my child.

 

It was especially trying — and surprising — when my second born, a daughter, went through her head-spinning-Linda-Blair stage first, at fourteen.  While she was screaming and carrying on about calling Child Protective Services and attempting to bore holes into our foreheads with her fury, my oldest son just flew under the radar.  A junior in high school, he was a typical, well, boy.  Immature, uninterested in school and willing to eke by with the minimum of work exerted.  By most standards, the textbook teen.

 

He was always a bit young for his age but rather than dwell on his mediocre grades we tried to focus on his charm, and magnetism.  Extremely good looking, he was similarly well-liked, mainly due to his good nature.  He was —  mother’s pride aside —  a delight and I just loved the stuffing outta him.  Always have.

 

Turns out, this extreme love came in handy when I began to hate him.

 

I don’t recall exactly when the metamorphosis of my good-boy-gone-bad began but I do remember every detail of warning, every red-flag.

 

With each incident I tried to keep perspective.  I even rationalized.  I did this, too.  The drinking.  The pot.  The skipped school.  The scummy friends.  Wasn’t this typical teen territory?  I even admitted, at times sheepishly, I did far worse (thank you, 1988).  So I tried to keep a cool head and held firm with consequences.  Even though much of the time I felt like I was swimming against a tide (a tide of parents who unfathomably presented cars for sixteenth birthdays and provided smartphones through school suspensions) I did what I was supposed to do.  My litany of repercussions included (but were not limited to):  grounding, taking phones, taking plates off cars, paying for NOTHING (yearbook, class trips, clothing, toiletries, prom, car insurance) ….. Good God, we took away everything.  We joked with friends that my son lived an Amish lifestyle.

 

He Just.  Didn’t.  Care.   About anything, it seemed.

 

When enough was enough, we finally took his four-year-college off the table.  We had done our part:  attended freshman orientation, bought the sweatshirts and travel mugs, kept our hopes high for some show of maturity.   It didn’t come.  As senior year came to an end, he still hadn’t gotten it.

 

No way, we said.  There was no chance we were going to strap ourselves paying for a university when he wasn’t even getting himself to high school – for free. We told him he needed to get his act together, prove himself responsible and start with a junior college.  It was all we had left.  We privately envisioned that kid – that headline-storied kid each year – that ends up dead in a dorm room from alcohol before classes have even started.

 

Nothing seemed to work.  So we told him to rethink his plans for the future.

 

Turns out, our Great American Parenting Plan backfired because well, he left.

 

He just left.

 

He called it moving out.  But conventional wisdom would argue that throwing some clothes in a duffle bag and heading out the door without an inkling of what’s happening the next day is no such thing.  He had run away.

 

He had had it with our outrageous rules, our absurd expectations and our irrational belief that teens should be responsible and respectful on their journey to adulthood.  So — without any angry fanfare or slamming doors —  my oldest child left our home six days before his high school graduation.

 

The situation, as an understatement, was hard.  Devastating, in fact.  It was the ultimate in rejection for a mother:  a child that doesn’t want her.

 

And I didn’t pretend to understand it.

 

But he was a good kid and we were good parents.

 

And I guess I knew deep down that he’d be back one day.

 

He was.  After a long and fretful 47 days.

 

When he returned we spent what was left of the summer reconnecting as a family and licking our wounds.  Damage had been done and both sides were duly cautious about a recurring Groundhog Day of past occurrences.

 

But things were far from perfect.  In time, familiar nagging doubts started creeping in.  There was a level of distrust that I just couldn’t shake.  At times I seemed sadder now that he was home than when he’d been gone.  Things didn’t seem much better and I wondered if I would ever again feel joy when my son walked into a room.

 

Disrespect is a mighty deal breaker in my home and I do not believe a refrain of “This is my home and these are my rules” should be up for interpretation. When my beloved son’s behavior started down the slippery slope of insolence once again, I felt stronger and wiser when I addressed it.

 

Not long after he returned, he decided once again that our curfew was unreasonable and didn’t come home.

 

When he did…  his room was packed up, our locks were changed and we were waiting.

 

I told him since he wasn’t ready to resume living in MY home with MY rules, he needed to leave. He refused.   I showed him all his things.   He still refused to leave.  I then called the police.

 

I wasn’t afraid of the neighbors seeing, or knowing, or talking.

 

I wasn’t afraid of him actually leaving either.  I realized I’d survived the last time he left, and would this time, too.  And this time, it was going to be on MY terms.

 

I realized I wasn’t afraid of anything. And that the absence of fear was indescribably empowering.

 

We sat together calmly, in silence, and waited for the police to arrive.

 

I have to say, when they walked in they seemed surprised to encounter a domestic disturbance that wasn’t terribly disturbing at all.

 

The officer in charge kindly – but sternly – let my teenager know the deal:  It was 48 hours before my son’s eighteenth birthday, therefore by law, we were required to care for him.  But only for two more days.  After that, should they get called again, they would have to take him out of the home.

It is my honest belief that a couple of changed locks and a few police cars will do wonders for a teen’s psyche.   It changed everything for us.

 

My son learned a lot of things that day.  He learned we were absolutely done. And he learned (thank you, officer) that if you expect to live in your parents’ home, you should expect to follow their rules.  Period.

 

I believe – no, I know – that once this became clear to him, it may have been his personal epiphany.  It was as if his rebellion started to break away and let some clarity emerge.  Hell, maybe it was simply a badge … or a look of “Really, kid?” coming from someone other than his own parents.

 

I have absolutely no idea why it never sank in before that moment.  I likely never will.

 

It was a dark and rocky couple of years and – no joke – at times paled in comparison to my daughter’s fright fest at age fourteen – but we got through it.  Good parents raising good kids usually do.

 

It was excruciating and difficult to do what most parents don’t seem to have the strength to do:  follow through with consequences and demand respect.  But we did.  Even though it damn well felt as if our family was in tatters, we held strong.

 

The joy of my firstborn, while on hiatus for a heartbreaking while, eventually returned.

These days as he’s careening into manhood – an Air Force Reservist and college student —  I still love the stuffing outta him and my face lights up again whenever he enters the room.

 

But I am keenly aware there are still a couple of house rules that make him squawk.

 

Ah well.

 

Too bad, right?

 

 

I so hope this story gets to those sad parents in New Jersey because their beautiful cheerleader needs a reality check.  And soon.

 

 

Follow Eyerollingmom on Facebook  and Twitter and catch all her blogs at www.tinadrakakis.com

 

 

Why Xmas Cards Need Punchlines

My "New Year's" card from a few years ago. Too crazed to pull off a Xmas shoot, I bribed & threatened to get this shot. My crew STILL holds a grudge ... can't imagine why ....

My “New Year’s” card from a few years ago. Too crazed to pull off a Xmas shoot, I bribed & threatened to get this shot. My crew STILL holds a grudge … can’t imagine why .

 

I have chosen to NOT send out Christmas cards this year.  Again.  Last year I just couldn’t muster up the desire and the year before I thought it would simply be a nice respite.

Whaddaya know.  I think I may have stumbled onto a new favorite tradition.

I’ve spent many a snarky blog mocking Christmas letters (and – why don’t we simply put me on the express track to Hell – Christmas photos as well. Come on, you know you do, too.  I just say it out loud.  Shrug.)

But I really do love my idea of the Why-Can’t-We-All-Just-Be-A-Wee-Bit-Honest? anti-Christmas letter.  I wish they all sounded like mine:

I’d say with blatant bragging that my kids didn’t turn into trolls throughout the year and were still, in fact, good looking.  (Naturally if No-Shave November didn’t find my son looking like Wolverine I could’ve secured proof of this over Thanksgiving weekend when we were all together but no such luck.)

I’d reveal that I am secretly thrilled when my oldest son is at college … because his proclivity to starting his day at 3:30 to do errands when he’s home makes my hair fall out.

I’d express delight that my college-bound, environmentally impassioned daughter is poised to save the world one dolphin or blade of grass at a time … yet would rather hug a tree than any of her brothers … and that kinda sorta makes me mental.

I’d report that my middle-school sons are doing well in their school and sporting endeavors … but that their inability to decode and decipher common phrases like “Take you shoes off before coming in” and “Hang up that towel” worries me immeasurably.

I’d boast about my husband’s year of health and weight loss (again, not really a loss when it’s found by someone else, eh?) but to even the score I would definitely get in a few digs about my perpetually broken kitchen pendant light.  I’d then probably put it in print that I am holding firm on getting my downstairs painted this spring (and that this task will far take precedence over – pick one – a new snow blower, lawnmower and/or Patriots season tickets.  So there.)

I’d ramble on about our family vacation to Disney with a great group of friends and then embarrassingly admit I lost my youngest son within 5 minutes of entering the happiest place on Earth.  Yes.  Party of 14 people.  Lost child.  5 flippin minutes.

I’d divulge funny details about my job (that I love)  in an alternative middle/high school (Really?  I’m complaining about wet towels at home?  Really???) but then I’d share the far from humorous reality of having to keep the doors locked there now.

 

Scary times.

It’s best to just remember that our lives – and our livelihoods —  are merely temporary.

 

Why not laugh a little and focus on the daily, smaller smiles because really — one day real soon I may be missing those wet towels on the floor, right?

 

My family is healthy and my life is full of love and friends and laughter.  (And recycling.  Lots and lots of recycling because – haven’t you heard —  my daughter has turned into the Conservation Nazi.)

 

So, as I sit here watching “The Sound of Music”  (singing every word to “Climb Every Mountain” because, my gaaaaawd,  Mrs. Cazzaza made us sing it in elementary school,  I wish everyone the same:

 

Health, love, and (of course) recycling.

And laughter.

Lots and lots of laughter.

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

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The Thinking Girl’s Thong

Look, Mom.”  My 13-year-old daughter’s eyes shone with a sort of mischief as she called me in from the hallway.  I stood in her doorway and watched as she opened her top drawer and proceeded to hold up the teeniest, tiniest thong I’d ever seen. Momentarily halted (“DON’T TASE ME, BRO!”), I just blinked. I’m assuming my face froze unnaturally (or maybe I just dropped the laundry basket, I can’t remember) because she added quickly, “Don’t worry, I got it on sale.” Good God. How was my head supposed to explode off my neck when she was following my cardinal rule? I drew a breath, nodded and did what any other mom would do: turned on my heel and left. I needed a mom moment. For sure.

It’s not that I feel seventh grade is entirely too early for thongs (I do), and it’s not that I don’t particularly see the need for invisible panty lines in middle school (I don’t). The bigger issue, as I see it, is the undeniable and intrinsic empowerment of a thong. Any female that’s ever donned one knows there’s a hell of a lot more going on than invisible panty lines. It’s as if there’s a secret sexual revolution going on in your pants. I guess I wasn’t expecting a thong—and everything that comes with it —  in middle school and worse–– from her.

She’s hip. She gets it (only mothers of teenagers who don’t get it fully understand this phrase. Trust me, my eldest teenager, a boy, does not get it. That’s an entirely different article…). But my savvy, sassy daughter? She’s confident. And reflective. And beautiful. Not beautiful in the kum-ba-ya sense that “all kids are beautiful,” but beautiful enough that our friends nod knowingly and offer “yeah, good luck with that” condolences or “got the shotgun ready?” inquiries whenever she whisks through the room. The truth is she doesn’t need a thong. I only wish she knew that.

My daughter might disagree (quite loudly, I imagine) but I happen to think I’m a fairly cool mom. My hair’s not stuck in a time warp, I tend to favor high heels with just about anything and I’m incredibly adept at the muffin-top-camouflage. Still, even the coolest parent will grimace when their baby girl wants to be sexy. I’m not a soapbox-standing mom who’s going to blame the demise of teenage morals on MTV or say the world’s going to hell in a handbasket because some emaciated Barbie traded her bikini top for peanut butter on Survivor. I know sex is everywhere we turn, but I also know I’ve instilled some pretty good values into my little girl’s head. So why the sudden need for the inner strength of sexuality?

Having been a teenager myself, I remember the gradual ascent of provocative dress. In junior high, my Nautical Blue eyeliner was smuggled into the roller rink undetected in my Jordache pocket and was wiped clean off my face before pick up hours later. In high school, weekend club-hopping called for white anklets and cotton-candy-colored pumps paired with denim mini skirts (Hello… Long Island in the ’80s? I was far from alone). I understand the glorious burst of self-esteem that comes from feeling sensual. But the image of a sexy pink string just visible over the tiny waistband of my daughter’s jeans just might send me over the edge. This is so not Nautical Blue eyeliner.

My inability to come up with an intelligent (or any, for that matter) response was eating at me. Clearly this was some type of mother-daughter milestone that shouldn’t be dismissed with some dropped laundry. I fretted for hours while my daughter easily resumed her life, humming effortlessly without noticing the elephant in the room (the irony being that our particular elephant was the size of a Band-Aid). If she felt the need to be secretly sexy, I didn’t want to deny her the nourishment that her self-image might need at this particular moment in adolescence. At the same time, I didn’t want to send her father to the emergency room should he catch a glimpse of it for the first time one night at Chili’s.

Right before I turned in for bed, I noticed her light was still on (of course it was; parents of teenagers already know their children turn into vampires after their 12th birthday. I haven’t stayed up past my two older kids since the season finale of Lost). She looked up at me, questioningly. Here was our big moment. I cleared my throat.

“The thong?” I asked plainly. It was as if she had to remember.

“Yeah?” She seemed unaffected, like I was inquiring about chorus practice or where she’d left my curling iron.

“If I ever see it, I will take a scissor to it.”

She didn’t skip a beat and went back to her textbook. “Got it.”

And that was that.

I imagine June Cleaver might have spent a bit more than 11 seconds on the entire interaction, but I know my point got across. Some things work best when hidden. And some feelings of empowerment are meant to be savored—privately.

 

 

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Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.

 

Missed the start of A Momoir? Catch up here:

Chapter 1, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Chapter 2, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

Chapter 3, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

Chapter 4, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/12/02/a-momoir-chapter-4-a-moms-plea-to-seth-rogen-enough-with-the-masturbation-already/

Chapter 5, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/04/20/a-momoir-chapter-5-the-magnitude-of-the-middle-aged-mom/

Chapter 6:  Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/