Brett Buckner is an award-winning freelance newspaper/magazine writer who was raised in Albany.
Soon as we were able to stop giggling long enough to speak, My Lovely Wife and I applauded each other for having been given the best compliment parents can hope to receive.
No, it wasn’t anything along the lines of what people in the outside world would ever consider a compliment. Stuff like “I love you guys,” or “I appreciate all the sacrifices you’ve made for me,” or even “Gee, thanks for picking up all my gnarly, moldy towels off the bathroom floor and replacing them with fresh, clean ones.”
Words of appreciation and gratitude are languages teenagers speak with the fluency of Klingon.
I speak not out of malice but experience.
Such soothing expressions of love and appreciation will come only in the form of an apology – delivered long after they’ve siphoned off their parents will to live and have experienced karma in the form of a houseful of their own rowdy children.
By that time, we’ll be grandparents enjoying the luxury of a constant barrage of “Ha! Ha! We told ya so” and getting the kids all hopped on sugar when Mom isn’t looking.
God, I can’t wait to grow old.
No, this wasn’t intended as a compliment at all … least not the way The Diva hurled it. But My Lovely Wife and I took it as one just the same.
“Ya’ll are so LAME!” she shouted before stomping off and slamming her bedroom door.
I won’t lie. At first, I was rather wounded because I consider myself to be fairly cool.
Now, I’m no Arthur Fonzarelli, but I read Bukowski, know the difference between death metal and black metal, I own a KISS lunchbox, wear red Converse low-tops, have multiple tattoos, watch documentaries on serial killers and have a hot wife.
How dare she call me lame? I’ve met some of her friend’s parents with their ironed khaki pants and mini-vans – that’s lame, not me.
Ever the insightful one, My Lovely Wife stepped in and soothed my bruised ego.
“This is a good thing,” she said. “It means we’re right.”
The reason for the uncool indictment was because The Diva wanted to sleepover at a friend’s house on a school night. When we said no, she countered with having them spend the night with her. Having obviously missed the point as to why we said no in the first place, she got all incensed at the rejection, arguing that “other parents let their kids do it.”
Thus being unmoved and uncaring (not to mention knowing that other parents in fact did not let their kids have sleepovers on school nights, and if they did they’re kids were probably already locked up in joovy and therefore not an influence on our Diva anyway) we were guilty of being lame.
I actually couldn’t stop laughing, which probably contributed to the histrionics. But it laid bare not only the verbal wars that are sure to come as every decision we make is life-or-death to The Diva, but of just how important those decisions will be in the development of decent, well-rounded, responsible child.
Truth is letting her spend the night with somebody wasn’t that big a deal. It was the demanding tone and pathetic argument that made the decision easy.
Plus, it set a bad precedent while proving a fact I didn’t want to accept. Parents have to be lame and boring, uncool and overprotective. It’s the only way to ensure they’re kids don’t end up on milk cartons or getting paternity tested on the Maury Povich Show.
Guess it’s a good thing Fonzie never had kids.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org