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An Open Letter of Apology to my Teenage Children

I’m sorry you think your life is so terrible that you can’t wait to turn 18 and leave. I’m sorry you think I am a “creeper and stalker.” I’m sorry that you hate how I am aware of current trends and technologies. And I am sorry that you are mad that I am not one of the “chill” parent who don’t care what their kids are up to.

You can’t wait to leave this house, eh? Just remember, when I was 18 and got mad that my parents made me be home before 11pm, made me pay for my car, made me do my own laundry, made me got to college, made me work and made me responsible for my own actions and choices. So, I left home. Cool, right? Awesome! Freedom! I struggled with three jobs, rent, and lost my car because I couldn’t afford gas, insurance or repairs. I had to drag my laundry to a Laundromat and remember no car. So I drug it in the driving rain, freezing snow, blazing sun and pitch dark.( By the way, it sucked. Big time.) Sometimes I did not have enough money for laundry. Or I would wash it and not have enough to dry it. Once, in the kitchen sink, I had to hand wash my work uniform (which, by the way, my sister paid for, because I was broke). I was running late, so I decided to dry it in the microwave even though it had metal buttons. It started smoking. I pulled it out, threw it out the second story window, and watched it as it spontaneously burst into flames and disintegrated in a pile of ashes and smoldering wet grass…I was REALLY late for work that day…There wasn’t much time for freedom because I had to work so much. And I had really crappy waitressing jobs because even back in the olden days, the first question on an application is “What college did you attend?” and “What Major/Degree?” not “What college did you quit going to because you wanted to be awesome and have freedom?” and “What degree did you attempt but never acquire because you had to work three jobs to pay for your awesome freedom?”

When I was a teenager, the words “creeper and stalker” were casually used to describe derelicts such as dirty minded old men who wore a trench coat over his birthday suit and thought he had something worth flashing to whomever was lucky enough to cross his path and the geeky kid at the school library who constantly watched what book you looked at so he could tell you he read it, and how it ended. Sadly, in this day and age, those words are used to describe violent sex offenders, pathological serial rapists and apparently also, middle-aged moms who keep their teenagers Twitter feeds on their phone so she can have a semblance of an idea of what’s going on in their complicated, angst filled lives. Go me. That’s an accomplishment. I actually got called both!

When I was growing up and computers were introduced in schools, my parents were like the Neanderthals. Computers were fire and they were scared shitless of it although they had an inkling that they were going to play an important role in the future. We were learning how to write code in the computer lab and they were still getting used to color television. Computers were too much for their dementia riddled brains to manage.( yes.. I thought my parents were old and out of touch too. And nosey. And obnoxious. And embarrassing.) To be honest, they never really caught on to the world wide web till long after I was married and had kids. But you forget. My parents were introduces to computers as adults. I grew up WITH computers. As the technology advanced, I did with it. And where I could have EASILY hid stuff from my parents on our old Commodore, I never needed to. They couldn’t even turn the damn thing on. But you? There isn’t much you guys can get past me. From things as simple as checking history, temporary files or cookies to the more advanced programs that I will not name and give up my hand. If I told you how easy was to check on you, you would throw your computer, phone and xbox out the window and lock yourselves in the closet. Forever. But it is with that same ease of access that I have, that others with less genuine intentions have as well…and I fear for you guys..

I keep tabs on you. Yes. But you have to understand for 9 months you grew inside me. Then for about 9-10 years you were practically, physically attached to me at all times because you were soul sucking toddlers that grew into whiny, needy kids. Then you started to branch out on your own and I had to let go and watch you wade through life in the 21st century. Now, you are, for all intent purposes on your own out there. And I get scared. I get nervous. As you grew up, I hopefully instilled values that will act as a compass in life steering you in the right direction. But, I still have to watch you on your way. I used to have Facebook. I perused in the backgrounds. I made you friend me so I could see what was on your page. But we have stepped into the next stage of life. You have evolved into tweeting young adults. Your world in 140 characters. Sometimes a complete sentence, sometimes coyly arranged symbols made to resemble something usually inappropriate or even an emoji . A steaming turd to tell the world you are pissed because just because. A hand showing the peace symbol to show that you too are a true believer of YOLO. Award winning images of stupid smiles, crossed eyes, a cookie, screenshots of your phone or pictures of your dog in a blanket so poignant that Ansell Adams himself would have ditched his landscapes to capture the life force of a Chihuahua wrapped in fleece if he only knew just how awesome it was. I haven’t made you add me. But I still watched your feeds. Like a good parent. Like a loving mother. Like someone who would stop at nothing to keep you safe and protected. Yes, I watched you. But did I ever have to approach you on it? Have I ever had to get involved? Have you ever gotten in trouble for anything other than being a slob or torturing your little brothers and sisters? No. I haven’t. And I attribute that to the fact that your father and I have raised amazing kids. In fact you are great kids. You make good, solid, responsible decisions. I don’t care what celebrity you are in love with, I don’t care about the new emojis just released, I don’t care how many F-bombs you drop. It’s a rite of passage. Im “chill” with it. I care who your friends are. I care who tweets bout getting high or drunk. I care who has loose morals and no self worth. I care not about the judgments you will make, but I care more about the pressures and expectations that may be put on you. I want to be prepared to deal with whatever comes your way. I want to be able to intervene with accurate knowledge and information.

I simply want to be your parent.

And for that… I’m not sorry… Not even close…

 

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby, you’ll be.”-

Robert N. Munsh – I’ll Love You Forever

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