Hope recently asked me, in her most exasperated, working on getting it perfect, teen tone: “Mom, ugh…..how did you ever get through being a teenager? It’s sooooooooo hard. It’s so confusing, all these emotions, I just can’t.”
I waited for her to throw herself to the floor and writhe around as that seemed to be the next logical step in this drama-filled confab we were having. She didn’t, and for that I am grateful.
“Yeah, sweetie, I dunno. It’s hard. I guess I muddled through…just like you will muddle through. No one gets a pass on the horror that is the teen years.”
Hope had just spent the last #ikidyounot 2+ hours telling me blow-by-blow about a conversation she had with her crush after school the previous day. You know that time that she left the after school program because the crush said it was ok, and that he could sneak her back into school, and no one would be the wiser, but that’s not what happened, and I found her on the side of the road freezing to death alone when I picked her up?
This kid is going to be the death of me. It’s a wonder I even saw her!
I didn’t even yell at her at the time; I couldn’t. I mean…I was so stunned that I found her on the ROADSIDE, with no damn coat on in 30 degree weather. I didn’t even ask her the whole story at the time. I was just so glad Hope was ok, and I was busy blasting the heat so that she didn’t continue to freeze to death ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. #lawd #ranmypressureup
So yesterday we spent a relaxed evening with her telling me the whole story of how she ended up on the side of the road.
Honestly if it wasn’t so dang absurd and scary, it would be hysterical. The things we do for a crush…smh! As she spilled the tea, I found myself shaking my head.
Hope would respond, “Yeah, mom, I know. It was dumb. I was really dumb.”
And I still couldn’t yell at her. Lord knows I wanted to raise hell, but I couldn’t because I started remembering the time my dad came to fetch me from a location where I KNEW I wasn’t supposed to be, doing something I KNEW was stupid. I remember the fresh hell I felt waiting for him to yell at me, waiting for the inevitable punishment, waiting to be in so much trouble. Oh I got in trouble. I remember losing my TV and being grounded for a long time, but I don’t remember a lot of yelling. I’ve probably just blocked it out, because I’m sure there was some yelling. But I remember the punishment, and more so, I remembered the self-conviction I felt because I knew I was in the wrong, so, so very wrong. I don’t even know if I really hung out with those kids, who I followed in my dumb moment of peer pressure, ever again. I remember the gravity of letting my parents down and just doing something so absurdly dumb and how it made me feel.
I could tell Hope was feeling pretty low. With every, “And then he said…. And then I said….and then we went so and so and then person X stopped to take a selfie…,” I knew how she felt about her shady shenanigans. I also kinda wanted to stab myself with a fork because the conversation pattern was annoying as all get out. #totally #literally
So, I decided to show her how I felt. As she was still prattling on, I pulled up a clip of Claire Huxtable GOING THE HELL OFF on Vanessa in the episode called The Night of the Wretched. I told Hope to hush and that this was what I was feeling right now, but that I would not yell at her. She could feel free to imagine Claire yelling at her for having Big Fun with her crush while wandering around the neighborhood two miles away from home.
She laughed and afterward said she got it. I took over the conversation by asking what I really wanted to know—specifically what happened (in 90 seconds or less) and how she now felt about her crush and his shenanigans.
I’m glad I could take some time to breathe, to remember how hard it is being Hope’s age, to remember what it was like getting caught doing stupid ish. I’m glad that for once I could practice a little grace with her. I’m glad that she can talk to me and tell me what’s going on, even if it takes forever to tell the story. I’m glad we are learning not to blow up.
I’m counting this as my first parenting win for 2015.