My friends and I talk a lot about how we are going to parent our kids when they are teenagers. Yes, they are only 4 now. No, I do not believe we are over-preparing. We’re talking about teenagers here, people. It’s kill or be killed.
Typically, these conversations turn to the awful, terrible, idiotic things we did when we were teenagers. What would have been a fun get-to-know-you-better conversation before kids has turned into a sobering, head-shaking, aw-shit-mine-better-not kind of talk.
I did it all — drugs, alcohol, sex, riding on the roof of a car with a friend while the guys inside held our hands through the sunroof to keep us from falling off…………actually, it was more ME holding on to THEIR hands while THEY BOTH held on to my super hot friend. Ouch. I engaged in a fair share of risky behavior and somehow managed to stay alive. All the serial killers must have been home sharpening their knives those nights because I gave them plenty of opportunities in the early 2000s.
My kids aren’t old enough yet to have questions about drugs and alcohol, but they have already seen one of of my dumb young kid decisions — my tattoos. I have two: one on my hip done by a mostly blind one armed man in Glasgow, Scotland; and a tramp stamp done for my bisexual boyfriend who got me started smoking and cheated on me with a girl he met at church. What can I say, I like my life stories with a dash of ”what the……..??” to them.
The first time my daughter saw my tattoos, I told her they were bruises. I don’t know, dudes. She was two. Now that she is four, I have told her that they are pictures that never go away called tattoos. She of course, decided that she would like a tattoo as well. I told her that once she turned 18 she was welcome to do whatever she wanted to. And I mean that. Just please lord, let it be below the neck.
Her question about my tattoos was the first of what will be countless experiences being asked questions I not only don’t know HOW to answer but I don’t WANT to answer. The “where do babies come from” question is starting to get asked, and I always said that I would be straight forward and honest and tell them the truth. Well, guess whose kids think they started out as seeds that I then wished into my tummy? That’s right. THIS idiot’s kids. Just another promise I made myself before having kids that did a 180 after I had them (when I was pregnant I also said I would never buy plastic toys. Careful — you’re going to choke if you keep laughing that hard).
So my friends and I worry about what the heck we are going to do when our kids ask us if WE ever did XYZ when WE were teenagers. The experts say — tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but for the love of god you don’t have to tell them every little thing if they don’t ask about it (ix-nay on the aring-shay). And there have been studies showing that teens want to know the truth and that when they do it encourages them to be more responsible. To which I say, dur-hay. Think about it — wouldn’t you want to know about the time your mom dropped acid and thought she could fly?! I sure as heck would! (ps, Mom, if there is anything you want to share just drop me a line).
But really, who knows if what we did makes one iota of difference to our teenagers? Maybe being honest about my past will help because they will know that if I did it, then drugs and alcohol definitely don’t make you cool. To which I say, excellent. I just want them to make it through the horror show called the teenaged years alive and healthy and only lightly scarred. I know experimentation is going to happen, I just hope that they think I’m lame enough to not want to use my past as a role model. And I can proudly say that I am well on my way to accomplishing that.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take my kids to the grocery store in a shirt with holes in it and sandals with socks. Sometimes they play the Miami Vice theme in the store, and oh, how I dance.