Saturday, May 3, 2014

I'll Take "Conversations with Teenagers" for $1,000, Alex

As a parent, there are certain routine conversations you expect to have with your kids in the normal course of everyday life as a family. I'm talking about stuff like "what would everyone like for dinner?"..."what time are we leaving for the soccer game?"..."quit antagonizing your brother and go to your room, right this instant!" know, the usual. Then there are times when you're done having an exchange with, say, your child, and all of a sudden you shake your head at the utter absurdity of what just came out of your mouth. For example: Husband is currently preparing to fly to the UK on a business trip. Derek asked me, "Does he have a passport?" I gave him a quizzical look, as he should know full well that his father does, of course, have one...since we've all vacationed outside of the U.S. together on multiple occasions. Reading my incomprehension, he clarified, "Well, we haven't left the country for a couple of years." Then he paused for a moment--apparently to reflect upon this stunning revelation--and added with mock distress, "Jeez...we've really been slacking!" Then he brightened and tacked on, "But we'll need them if we make it to Costa Rica next Summer!"

Yes, that's from my 14-year old seasoned traveler...who has no earthly idea how crazy it seems for someone his age, who belongs to a distinctly NON jet-setting family, to be in possession of a passport at all. Now, I'm not saying we're globetrotters, by any means--in fact, we've mostly used our official documents to visit our friendly neighbors on the North American continent. But I had to remind him that I didn't obtain a passport until I took myself to Europe as a well-deserved reward for surviving graduate school. And Husband didn't get his until we planned our honeymoon in Ireland. So, right...that was one of those slightly surreal dialogues that occasionally happen around here.

Then there are the somewhat expected--if not always welcome--"chats" one has with one's beloved offspring. Like Friday morning, when this charming text back-and-forth happened:

Evidently Derek had either remembered or been reminded by a buddy (we're dealing with Teenage Boy Brain, so either one is equally unlikely...who knows how he was prompted to get in touch with me) that this needed to be done. Keep in mind, I had neither heard of nor laid eyes upon this mythical, elusive "permission slip" of which he spoke. But out of the martyred goodness of my parental heart (and given the fact that I don't work on Fridays this semester...and didn't have any burning time-sensitive appointments or errands on my schedule...making him one lucky boy) I agreed to bail him out. After grounding him, you'll notice. (Yeah...that's a running family joke when one of the boys does something mildly...stupid, he knew better than to take me seriously. Heaven forbid he ever does something that actually warrants such a punishment--we'll probably all keel over in shock...) And the "preferred child" thing? Sometimes that switches on an hourly basis, depending on who's being more annoying...or who's being more compliant. So basically, I don't get a whole lotta mileage out of my empty threats. Sigh.

Because he's never pulled this particular forgetful act before, he didn't even know the proper procedure to follow. He SHOULD have left the paper in the Main Office, so I could slip in, scribble my name, and be gone in seconds. But nooooo, he kept it with him in his binder, requiring that he be called out of Algebra to come downstairs to the front desk. On second thought, I can only hope that there was a modicum of embarrassment and shame involved with being singled out...but this is Derek we're talking about, so I'm sure he was completely and totally...undisturbed by it. Oh well, at least by confronting him face to face, I did get the satisfaction of leveling him with my best Mom Glare...and whacking him ineffectually with the flimsy, rolled up sheet of paper in front of all the secretaries (as he grinned at me sheepishly). This unexpected opportunity actually made the whole incident thoroughly entertaining...much more so, in fact, than my next stop...boring old Target...

And with only 6 more weeks in the school year, hopefully this delightful little scene will not need to be repeated. Or believe me, someone's gonna get grounded...

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