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.