Why two teenage girls, of course. And that’s just what we got a few weekends ago when Kid B turned 13, joining her older sister in the official years of life-affecting decisions, crazy, unpredictable hormones, and angst. Lots of angst. Oh, and the texting while they are doing just about everything else. Don’t forget that. Maybe some eye rolling, door slamming and foot stomping too. But it does not all have to be bad. I think that teenagers have gotten some bad press because some of them can be really cool.
In fact, most of Kid A’s teenage years to date have not been horrible. I would even go so far as to say that they have been quite pleasant. She is still talking to me and we rarely fight. She is sometimes sullen and moody, but I always ask her what is going on and we usually talk about what is bothering her. Some things get resolved and others go on festering, but I don’t do better than that now with my own mother and I’m forty. My teenager teaches me all kinds of teenage things so I can continue to stay in touch with the youth of America. We talk openly and often about relationships and sex. She’s already smarter than me in math, but she doesn’t make fun of me for it. She teaches me how to navigate Prezi and Spotify, and I teach her what dirty slang words mean when she asks about them. So I can only hope that Kid B’s teen years are half as good as her sister’s have been so far.
A few weeks prior to Kid B turning 13, she presented Sheepdog and me with a packet of sorts. It was an “All I Want for My Birthday” kind of thing. So I laughed out loud, but she said it was serious so I read through it with an open mind. She asked for a new purse from zappos.com, some posters for her bedroom, a neon soccer ball, an Angry Birds iTouch cover, and a week off from making school lunches. But in lieu of all of these presents what she really wanted was a weekend trip to Atlantic City.
Seriously… Kid B wished to go to Atlantic City for her 13th birthday.
Now you have to understand that her favorite person in the world (her Pop Pop, who is my dad) lives there, so her big draw to Atlantic City is (hopefully) not lucky craps tables at the Borgatta or even my cousin’s 70% manager’s discount at Lacoste. She wanted to spend time with her Pop Pop and her Nanny and just chill with no sisters or brothers and no scheduled activities. She wanted to sleep in every day, walk down to the docks to get some breakfast, then wander over to the boardwalks to maybe play a round of mini golf (in Ocean City) and get her tarot cards read by a gypsy (in Atlantic City). As a bonus she got my undivided attention, a visit with 3 Pops at the VA Home, Primo pizza for lunch one day, and both a t-shirt and a sweatshirt as souvenirs. It was a fantastic weekend.
Most importantly, we got to spend time together. We were adding to an already strong foundation just by having this shared experience. Then we watched “Bridesmaids” together, and we laughed until we almost peed our pants. I reminded her that I am her mother first and her friend second. Teenagers can get caught up in their own heads pretty easily. It is my job to make sure that mine don’t get lost inside there.
For now I’m just going to continue winging it with my teenagers. With communication and a lot of luck I hope we can make it through these years with more laughter than tears. I’ll continue to remind them that they are not perfect and neither am I. And even when they do stupid teenage things I will love them unconditionally, for ever and ever.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…