The Tangential Thinker

Teenage girl (16-17) kissing boy, close-up


When I first started writing this column, I was addressing parenting problems like how to get Whiny to give up his binky, or how to get Punch to stop licking sockets. As the kids have gotten older, their problems have changed and each year presents a new first. This year is no exception as I find myself with a 13-year-old girl and a new challenge: 13-year-old boys and the boy/girl party.

    I have faced the dances and the mixers, but this is a different beast entirely, and for those of you who aren’t there yet, brace yourselves. This is a kid posting on his Facebook page that he’s having a party and inviting his 90 or so friends from no fewer than eight different schools. This group, then, without hesitation, texts or posts the event to their friends and so on…I know how quickly word of a party spread when I only had my rotary dial princess phone with a click line. Imagine it today.

    I’ve never seen the inner sanctum of the party itself, but in my head I’m picturing the feast scene from Caligula—lots of flailing limbs and satanic music. Now as I have mentioned repeatedly, almost everything I do embarrasses Cranky. Add to the list: calling the parents of the host child, introducing myself, and confirming that they will be home and have given the green light to aforementioned festivities. Well, guess what? I will continue to embarrass her with pride because if I don’t—to paraphrase ABC’s Modern Family—I picture a future Cranky calling me from her stripper pole in Reno thanking me for not checking up on her.

    With the four Ds still looming (drinking, driving, dating and drugs), I know I’m still in a fairly pleasant parenting period. My friends call it ‘the bubble,’ but every phase has its challenges. Some won’t be as easy to solve as simply picking up the phone, but for right now, I’ll take it. It can’t always be me watching over her, but I can make sure someone else is. Plus I get the added bonus of embarrassing her at the same time. It really is the little things that make it all worth while. LN

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