There ought to be a group out there for those of us that are victims of parenthood. Maybe Parents Anonymous or Recovering Casualties, something like that. A support group, where shell-shocked parents of teens can seek a shoulder to lean on, amongst others that have survived the ordeal, before them.
Problem is, those that have survived, are inclined to sit back and laugh at those still in the throes of raising a teenager. They’ve forgotten how many times they were driven to near insanity by the antics of their own offspring. They only see the nervous tics, furtive glances and trembling hands of those that are still running that race. In their day, they prayed for someone to give them the answer… for anyone that could offer them a supportive hand on the shoulder or a sympathetic look. But having finished their ordeal, they now sit back smugly, occasionally clucking their tongue, laughing inside, at the inept ministrations of those that follow.
I have a rare opportunity, in that I have lived both sides of that situation. My first wife and I raised two teenagers. They have both now given me teenage grandchildren (which allows ME to snicker a little, you betcha!). Then, about twenty years ago, I remarried, and a couple of years later, we were blessed with a baby girl. She was adorable! Precious! An absolute JOY!
For about ten years!
Then, although I’m not sure exactly when and where, she became possessed! Not in a head-spinning, projectile-vomiting, puts-you-in-mind-of-Amityville sort of way, though… it was much more subtle. She became a teenager, and shortly thereafter, strange things began happening. Things that defied explanation.
For instance, in about fourth grade, she sang melodically in her school chorus. Now, she bobs her head in time to monotonous, drum-beating chants, while dressed like an extra from the original cast of Night of the Living Dead. I have pictures of her at her confirmation, in her gorgeous white gown, holding her candle in front of the altar. Unfortunately, the flash on my camera gave her a touch of red-eye.
Now, if you sneak a glance at her, you might notice red-eye again. But without the flash.
She used to love animals… now, she dates one. I suppose he’s simian, since he walks on his hind legs. But he only grunts. Probably just as well. I can’t imagine him having anything intelligent to say.
She has changed her hair color so many times, that my next door neighbors are convinced we have two daughters. Once, she turned out looking like a wolverine, with a bright white slash down the center. In combination with the red eyes, it was … striking! A LOT of people suddenly crossed the street when they saw her coming. She woke me up once, and the fright it gave me kept me awake for two days.
She recently informed me that she wants to get a tattoo. Throughout my Navy career, I managed to resist any drunken temptation to permanently deface my body, but my little angel wants to get a tattoo! I forbade it, of course. Which will mean absolutely nothing in the long term, as those of you with teenagers will realize. I can only hope she doesn’t opt for a Man O’ War across her chest.
More likely, it’ll be something with red eyes.
So, I survived it twice, then I got to sit back and smile smugly at my less fortunate acquaintances. Now, I’m back where I started (karma?), and I can’t wait ’til I can snicker at the rest of you poor schmucks.
Whoever said, “Misery loves company” didn’t know the half of it!