OK, so Cranky is a 14-year-old girl. Wow. When did that happen? And tonight, she is going to a big—BIG—boy/girl party. I guess it’s going to be fine, but I’m just a tad nervous. For years, I have been in the perfect bubble: no diapers, no car seats, but also no driving and no drinking. Suddenly, I find myself thrust into the next phase of life: life with teenagers.

Thankfully—or not, I’m not sure—I find myself painfully aware of what teenagers do. My parents were blissfully oblivious to my brothers’ and my deviant behavior. I can remember my brother sick as a dog his senior year—hung-over from some stupidity—and my mother explaining why he couldn’t walk me to school because he had the stomach flu. It might be nice to feel that way—clueless.

So (in my mind), my delightfully innocent and responsible daughter heads off to what will surely prove to be a wild party. I sit at home watching Seinfeld reruns with her assurances that if anything is “making her uncomfortable,” she will call for a pick-up.

My mind reels. Of course, they are probably sitting around listening to Maroon 5 and eating Doritos, but I picture a mustache-twirling 17- year-old quietly asking her if she’s seen the cool secret room in the basement. I hear the voices of parents past echo in my head: Of course we trust you baby, it’s other people we don’t trust.

The clock turns into the clock in Ferris Bueller’s classroom, slowly ticking backward…10:30…10:29…and suddenly, she is home. The party was G-rated—well, PG, if I’m being honest with myself. My kids are becoming adults—young adults—and I start to worry. Did that time I forgot to pick you up from day camp make you want to rebel? I hope not. I guess all we can hope for is the best. At least I can go to bed content with the thought that—for now—she is safe in her bed at home. The boys who are tee-peeing our yard, I will deal with tomorrow.

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