By the time my daughter was twelve, I already knew that I was in for some grey hair, before she would sail off into the sunset. She was, in the words of my era, a living doll! Besides being a very pretty girl, she also had a personality that captivated everyone that ever knew her.
After she turned thirteen, I started to notice the grey, every morning, in the mirror. My previously red beard was rapidly becoming equal parts of grey and sandy brown. My moustache was still holding its own, but I was getting spreading patches of silver over my ears.
As I became attached to them, I started to name the patches of grey. There was First Beau, Reggetón, Internet,… and right there in the center of my moustache, Rebellion was beginning to surface. I began equating them to the little earthshaking episodes that pop up every fifteen minutes or so, when there’s a teenager in the house.
When Michelle turned fourteen, she fell head over heels for a kid in her class, and he became the center of her universe. So, in addition to keeping an eye on him, I now found myself needing to put higher wattage bulbs in, over my shaving mirror.
Sure enough, there was another batch of grey coming in. I christened it, Hormones!
At fifteen, she conscientiously notified us that in order to ensure that she would be the best possible driver, when she finally got her license, she really ought to start practicing with us.
You guessed it! A new addition to my burgeoning crew of grey hairs…Driving.
Now, my little baby turned sixteen. She left training bras behind about three and a half years before. No more Sesame Street T-shirts for this girl! Now, it’s Daddy Yankee. Gone are the cute little jumpsuits. Now, we pay double the going price, for levis that look like they were drug behind Ben Hur’s chariot! And it’s shaping up to be a close contest, as to who will first suffer serious neck injury…the youngsters that turn to watch her pass, or ME, turning to glare at THEM!
And meanwhile, my once auburn locks have become a silvery mane that would rival that of an albino lion.
My daughter began to speak an entirely different language, at some point…I’m not really sure when. All I know is, now, on the rare occasions that she finds it unavoidable to speak to me, I see her lips move, and I hear sounds bombarding me.
But I don’t understand more than every third word. I ask her questions, and she looks at me, rolls her eyes, and mumbles something unintelligible.
I, of course, usually will act as though that was exactly the response I was hoping for, and go back to whatever I was doing previously.
It’s easier that way.
Once in a while, though, because the topic is especially critical, I will try to get an answer that I can understand.
“What did you say? Speak up.” I’ll say.
<Rolls eyes, shifts weight to one foot> “I said,” she’ll condescendingly say, “kwerzin lita feldin whopsil.”
At that point, I realize I’ve made a tactical error, and to avoid being drawn into a no-win situation, I’ll answer, “Oh, okay then! Thank you!”
“Schmerzel lopsis. Derbin itzel!”
I feel much better, knowing that my little baby and I are maintaining an open line of communication.
Currently, she is not dating anyone. I know this is only temporary, but nevertheless, I sleep better knowing that she is being stalked by twenty different suitors that know they have little chance of seducing her, than by one, that is convinced that it’s only a matter of time, before he succeeds. Allow me my delusions, at least.
I have explained my position to her suitors in different fashions, depending upon the set of their jaw. My favorite is telling them how stupid I think it is for the government to think they can really know who owns a gun, and follow that up with how much I miss prison.
That seems to have the desired effect.
Eventually I’ll have to find an empty lot, though. A guy can’t very well bury his victims in his own yard!
I’m really not too worried, though. I have learned that both our Chief of Police, and the District Judge have teenage daughters. They’ll understand!