When She Turns 18 and I Feel Old
My daughter turns 18 tomorrow. She’s 18 going on 28. Mistake wise, she’s already made her fair share. I on the other hand, chose to make my mistakes between the ages of 20 and 32.
I watch in quiet consternation the things she says and does. Occasionally, I’ll verbalize a “been there done that,” or a “I know or knew someone whose been there and done that.” Either way it’s an odd feeling to understand the useless power of having doing stupid things.
You would think that being a parent who has seen and done his fair share of stupid stuff over the years would prepare you for the trials and tribulations of being the father of a teenager in 2015, but it doesn’t. Not in the least. I think it makes it worse because you know of instances, of moments, of people in the past that just were messed up; and yet I made it through.
Every once in awhile one of my stories will end with a, “yea he ended up dying of a heroin overdose… or yea, she got arrested for DUI.” Not sure that’s really the right tact to be taking sometime but it does show that I know what’s up and that I got some wear and tear on these treads and yet in the same breath, I don’t really. It was different back then. At least that’s what every parent seems to say to themselves.
In one broad stroke you shake your head and ask what the hell were you thinking? In the next, you think to yourself, we all did that, but it was a different time, and a different era back then. Was it though? The 60's and the 70's had their Beatles and Woodstock, the 80's had their punk rock and hair band scene and so on and so forth. In each decade, the demise of civilization was firmly in the hands of teenagers and their music; all acknowledged and verified by their parents of course.
But I refuse to be that parent and yet I am and yet I’m not, only if for the reason that I was pretty stupid in my 20's too. If there was ever a time to use the incorrect term, “more stupider,” those moments might be mine, just in my 20's.
That’s doesn’t mean she get’s a free pass. It doesn’t mean I ease up because she’s getting closer to true adulthood. Those memories, the good and the bad, sometimes they flash before me during the day when I’m reminded of something; and sometimes, I think of them when I can’t sleep. Either way, they’re not too far away. I think they’re there close to the surface so that I can tell my kids about them at that opportune moment when they fuck up or are getting ready to.
Chalk one up to the imperfect parents of the world
Maybe I’m just figuring out the whole basis of and the reason for parenting. Parents are here to point out the good stuff and the bad. The right from the wrong. The why of why bad things happen to good people and the consequences of our stupidity and others.
Regardless of the era, it’s finally dawning on me, that parents? We’re just sherpas to our children leading them to the door that opens to life. The difference now? We can blame it all on smartphones and social media. I can’t believe she’s 18.