Monday, June 23, 2008

I wish I'd known then...

That my parents weren’t the dim bulbs I thought they were.

When they said things like, “What? You think I wasn’t your age once? You think I don’t know what kids say or do?” I’d just roll my eyes and say, “Whatever.”

Mom would say: “Don’t get your heart broken in high school. They’re stupid boys and they aren’t worth the heartache. You’ll realize what a waste of energy it was when you’re an adult.” I would roll my eyes and say, “Whatever.”

They would both say, “Enjoy your summers while you have them. Don’t piss them away sitting inside watching TV and playing Atari…” (yes, Atari. I know. That makes me old.) Of course, my very appropriate response was, “Whatever.”

Mom: “We know when you’re lying to us, honey. Save yourself the trouble and just tell us the truth. The first time.” Guess what I would say? “Whatever! I am telling you the truth! You just never believe me! Ever!” (defensive much?)

Now I’m a mother to two boys and I’m in the middle of watching history repeat itself. Do you know how many times a week I repeat my mother??? The very woman I barely acknowledged from the age of 12 to 22?

I’m not a stupid mother. I see and hear almost everything my kids do…even when they think I don’t. And I try very hard to advise them in the right direction, but they are stubborn and foolish. Just like I was. And it’s so frustrating because I could teach them so much if they’d be willing to learn from me. But they’re not.

None of us were.

I really, really, really wish that I could travel back to my teenage self and say, “Dude. Pick your battles. You don’t HAVE to argue every point your parents make and like it or not, when you’re 39, you’re going to realize they were right 9 out of 10 times. So shut up and listen.”

Since I don’t see time-traveling in my near future, I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with trying to advise my 14 year-old son like I would’ve advised my 14 year-old-self and hope my words will stick.

I’m not holding my breath.


  1. Wouldn't it be nice if we could write our teenage selves a letter with some advice?

    Not that we'd listen to us.

  2. I so had an Atari. Guess that makes me old too. :(

    More than when I was a teen, I wish I'd listened to my folks when I was a young adult. That's when I really screwed up, but you know, that's my history and I really wouldn't change it.

  3. I think the reason I write YA is to give advice to my teen self. It's like a do-over.

    And Melly, I'm hearing you on the "whatever". And really, I gave these children life--I *know* when they are lying.

  4. just gave me a story idea...

    Jen... I stopped listening at 12 and didn't start again til my mid twenties...unfortunately, that was when I needed to listen the most. Sigh.

    gwen, it cracks me up how dumb the kids then the parents are. And here we are thinking, as they lie straight to our faces, "Boy you're dumb." LOL

  5. Gwen, I'm the same way. Writing YA is like allowing yourself to get everything right.

  6. Of course, parental advice has not always in every universe been 100% helpful. To wit:'

    1) Are you sure about that Dungeons and Dragons thing? I've heard it can cause violence, and there was that guy in Texas who went crazy because of it and didn't he kill someone or run away or something?

    2) Don't dye a purple streak in your hair, because then everyone will think you're on Drugs.

    [And, yes, Drugs was always capitalized and bolded.]

    3) Don't bother applying to Harvard; it's not a very good school, and they're all just stupid rich kids whose parents went there.

    4) 100 degrees is not hot; you'll be better off outside playing in the fresh air than inside here.


  7. 4) 100 degrees is not hot; you'll be better off outside playing in the fresh air than inside here.

    Um. This is very true and as a parent, I will tell you, I say it quite a bit. Usually with the added, "You're young. Get over it. Take plenty of water."

  8. LOL. GREAT post. My mom had a lot of good advice. Of course, there was some...interesting...advice sprinkled in there, too. But she certainly knew what she was talking about a lot of the time!

  9. rhonda,
    I like to *think* I don't give,erm, interesting advice. LOL I like to *think* the 'interesting' advice ended with my mom. I'll let y'all know if that really happened when my kids get older. LOL

  10. OMG Atari... I had a guy in high school use that as a pickup. "Wanna come over? I have Atari."

    To his credit, though... he was one of the first guys to get it.

    We felt SO smart when we figured out how to fire off a mess of shots to get the big ship to come down in Space Invaders.