Wait a second….
My point is I wasn’t exactly a shining example of a cool teenager. John Hughes wasn’t writing his movies about my teenaged years. I spent the bulk of my adolescence hiding in the industrial wing of my large urban high school, carrying around a notebook and refusing to make eye contact with the general student body. The only people who knew I existed were the ones who mocked my slippers and the stoners who tried to steal them.
I was mostly invisible which worked well for not being labelled as a geek or a nerd or an undesirable. However, my invisibility was not so helpful when it came to attracting the attention of my teenaged crushes. Greg Z, you totally missed out. I adored you and I finally grew boobs. *This* (points to self) could have been all yours.
185 words later and my point is, I was a bit of a boring biddy as a lass and instead of chugging back beers and making out with an endless string of boys, I sat at home and watched old episodes of Knight Rider and Airwolf while doing my homework.
There were parties, I may have even been invited to some of them, but I never went. It wasn’t that I was scared, or I didn’t like my peer group or that my parents were draconian dungeon masters who kept me bound and chained in a damp basement somewhere. I was simply disinterested in those types of activities.
By the time my high school graduation rolled around, I was done with being a teenager. I was so over it. My mom had to twist my arm to get me to agree to attend my grad party and I blew off all of the after parties. Instead, my date (now husband) bought some McDonald’s take out and we sat in a neighbour’s hot tub underneath the starry sky.
(That sentence made my after grad experience seem steamy. The only thing hot about the hot tub besides the temperature was the fact my best friend was with us and trying to put the moves on my date.)
Perhaps it is because I wasted my own youth on being a responsible kid that I find myself wholly unprepared for raising two decidedly less geeky and boring children than I was. Both of my teens are far more social creatures than I and it’s created some friction already. Sometimes I find myself withholding permission for them to do something simply because I myself never did it as a child. Even if it is a completely age appropriate activity.
Apparently, the fuddy duddy teenager turns into a boring old mom. Go figure.
Add my history to the fact I’m already clutching my pearls and bemoaning the fact my children are growing up too fast and my kids will never escape my grasp. I may as well have the poor things chained to a water heater in the basement.
So when my 15-year-old daughter came home from school last week and asked her father and I for permission to attend this year’s high school Safe Grad party, I faltered. My instinct was to immediately say no. Why does my 15 year old child need to attend a (adult supervised) party in a secret location where kids can safely drink and celebrate?
But then I thought, why doesn’t she? She was invited as the guest of a graduating student. It is not like she’d be crashing the party. And she’s a good kid. Responsible. Smart. Trust worthy.
I’m smart enough to know that most of my kid’s friends are drinking when they go out on the weekends to house parties. Not only are kids her age drinking but they’re also having sex and some are doing drugs too. And sometimes, they are doing all three while their parents are in another room of the house.
How do I know all of this? Besides the fact she tells me, I remember what kids my age used to be doing while I was sitting at home composing love letters to David Hasselhoff. I’m boring, not stupid.
I am thrilled my daughter trusts me enough to talk to me about this sort of stuff. And I absolutely trust both of my teenagers to make smart decisions. Even if they make a mistake and do some under aged drinking, I love them enough to make them do hard labour with a hang over the next morning and then forgive them afterwards.
So I’m not sure if my problem is the fact I’m not ready to let my kids grow up just yet, the fact I absolutely don’t think a fifteen year old kid needs to be around drunk 18 year olds or a combination of the two.
I really don’t know what the right answer is. Do I honour the trust I have in my child and reward her for her responsibility and hard work by allowing her to attend the party or do I make her sit this one out at least for another year?
It’s just too bad I couldn’t convince my kids that watching television reruns with their mother was just as much fun as going to a boozy party with a bunch of wild teenagers.
However now that I’m older, I’m not even sure I believe that anymore.