Gum in Your Hair

A blog for parents under the big sky.

Raising Teens: Not for the Faint of Heart—Damn You, Daisy Dukes!

WRITTEN BY JENNIFER ROBERTS

 

She is the center of her world. The baby and only girl, she has older brothers and is our rainbow baby. After the loss of our baby before her, I felt I would not be able to endure another heartbreak and almost chose not to become pregnant again. Oh, how I would have missed out. A princess in her own right, she has never had to share and the boys often cater to her whims to ensure happiness reigns in her universe. Believe me, my husband and I try to balance the craziness of them giving in to her but to no avail.

She is fun, spunky and kind, and her smile can light up an entire room. Independent and strong, she can be challenging even on her best days. And I love spending time with her. I was beyond thrilled to welcome this healthy happy little girl in to our lives 16 years ago and nothing has been the same since. Our house went from wrestling matches, mud and bugs to Barbie, pink everything and clothes everywhere. I love watching her grow in to a determined young woman and we have so much fun together…Well, most of the time. We shop together, love to eat out, go hiking and we definitely need a spa day. It is when we are out and about that she talks the most and shares her day and life with me. She rocks out in the car and does not mind if I sing along. It’s so different from having sons.

But we unquestionably disagree – usually about hair, clothes and boys. She has no problem having these disagreements in public. For instance, at the mall, in Rue 21, from across the store, on a busy Saturday afternoon, where everyone is privy to the maddening conversation. And they can feel free to judge my every move. Sigh.

It was over a pair of shorts. Not long mom shorts or Bermuda shorts. In fact, I’m pretty sure there were absolutely no legs on the shorts. I always say if it looks like your vagina is eating your shorts, then they’re too short. I know this is the current style trend, but oh my, really? I’m not a prude by any means but a little modesty please!

She wasn’t having it. But with no money of her own, I was still in control of the purchase. She was relentless. I fault her brothers. Clearly, hearing the word “no” was not her intended result. I tried to steer her towards shorts with legs. Not to her knees mind you, but at least an inch or two long. Nope. No way did she want to buy those.

I walked away. To the other side of the store. It didn’t stop. I was quickly reminded of a 17-yearold girl who insisted she needed the latest pair of white British Knights high tops. It didn’t matter that we were at the mall to purchase shoes for my sister. Or that I had plenty of shoes at home. I. Needed. To. Have. Them. The fact that I wasn’t there to buy shoes or that funds were limited in my household was of no relevance to me. A notorious fit ensued. I literally could not stop myself at that moment from badgering my own mother in the loudest voice possible until she purchased the shoes to make me shut up.

Then I hear her. She yells from across the store. I can’t recall her exact words but there was at least one expletive if not two. Every head turned to look at me, and my reaction. It didn’t matter that there were 10 people in the store; I sensed a 100 pairs of eyes burning down on me. Like every time they had a tantrum in the toy aisle at Target, I could not help but be consumed with the thought that my child’s behavior was a personal reflection of my parenting skills. In the moment, I prayed for clarity. I was not under any circumstances going to purchase the offensive, barely-there Daisy Dukes.

I slowly walked over to my daughter. The closer I came towards her, the larger her eyes grew. Just as I had so many times when they were small, I put my face very close to hers so that she had no choice but to make direct eye contact. Calmly and quietly I said to her, “I am not buying the shorts. I am now leaving this store and going home. Unless you have an alternate ride or would like to walk, I suggest you follow me.” I turned and walked away. No yelling or screaming. I had no idea what she would do. I then heard the solid thud of her stomping behind me.

 

 

Jennifer Roberts is the mother of a blended family that includes her husband of 21 years, stepson, nephew, son, daughter and countless teenagers who love to hang out around her kitchen ranging in age from 15 to 25. On any given day, you can find her mopping mud off the kitchen floor, breaking up wrestling matches or trying to figure out where her mascara disappeared to! Find more stories about raising teenagers at www.raisingteensnotforthefaintofheart.blogspot.com.