I may complain every once in a while about young people and teenagers, but really, I find them interesting. Really! I had a lot of fun being a teenager and I can only hope they’re having as much fun being young. And that they’ll look back on these years fondly. And that they’re making the most of their wonder years. Because it’s a very unique time in a person’s life. I love meeting and (ever so briefly …..”please go now”) chatting with my daughter’s friends and participating in my daughter’s teen years.
- Teenagers keep you young. In an effort to not totally die of embarrassment should one of their peers accidentally see you in close proximity to them, they do their best to keep you dressed and coiffed in the hippest possible manner and try to keep you up on music, movie, TV, technological and linguistic trends – taking into account your incredible oldness, of course. And their crazy, innocent, naïve, hopeful view of the world often rubs off on you. So that’s all pretty cool.
- Teenagers are so supremely alive. They are just bursting with life and growth and hormones. They have an entire world of possibilities ahead of them — and don’t they know it! The world is their oyster. They still believe absolutely anything can happen. They are invincible. It’s all kind of exciting in a scary, scary way.
- Teenagers are so easy to shop for. No more traipsing around Toys R Us for whatever stupid thing is being advertised between bouts of teletubbies. Nope. Now, nothing says I love you, teenager person like cold hard cash. In fact, they want nothing from you except cold, hard cash. (Or ATM gift certificates). Simple.
- Teenagers aren’t around much. They have a million social engagements and manage to get to most of them without any parental assistance. So, no more chauffeuring kids around. No more organizing and coordinating play dates. No more hanging around playgrounds while your kids fall off stuff.
- When they are around, teenagers mainly just sleep a lot. Most teens need 8-10 hours of sleep a night and are not at their peak until late morning. So, in many ways it’s like having the house to yourself except for that smelly room at the end of the hall that you never dare go into. And the food that keeps mysteriously disappearing from the fridge.
- Teenagers are so intense and passionate about everything. The first part of the teenage brain to fully develop is the emotions center. So they can start the morning madly in love with life and everyone in it and by the end the day can be fully prepared to slit their wrists in abject despair. As a parent, it’s best if you can pretend to have no emotions at all, just to balance things out. Teenagers certainly don’t appreciate any displays of anger, worry, sadness or happiness from you. It totally freaks them out. So be mellow. (More about that at #10).
- And then again, teenagers can be completely blasé about something you’re sure they’ll be over the moon with glee over. “Hey, XUP Jr., how about we plan a trip to Paris some time this year?” She’s busy texting. And without even missing a keystroke or looking up says, “Why? What’s to do there?”
- Teenagers, in short, are very unpredictable. They keep you on your toes. They keep your mind active, thinking of ways to surprise them, shock them, and (my personal favourite) embarrass them.
- And just when you think you’ve pretty much got a handle on this whole teenage thing; just when you think you’ve figured out how to maintain just the right distance from them, and savoir faire around them, they surprise the hell out of you by coming to snuggle up next to you on the sofa and spilling a big, heavy secret. Or crying on your shoulder because of some injustice done to them. Or having a lovely dinner ready when you get home from an extra-long day at work and greeting you with a big hug, calling you “Mummy”.
- Finally, and most importantly, teenagers provide an always available excuse for drinking. Not a day goes by that there isn’t some drama that needs the edge taken off of, and/or some amazing new thing that deserves a bit of celebration. And really, can you ask for more than that from your kids?
 The other day, downtown, we ran into “the hottest guy at her school” . I must admit, for a teenaged boy, he was very cute and very Fonzie cool. However, it was about 92 degrees and he was wearing thick black jeans halfway down his ass with a good 6 inches of his black boxers on display. He and XUP Jr. stop to chat. He’s sweating like a pig in a sauna, complaining about how freakin’ hot it is. XUP Jr. wisely points out that he should have worn something cooler. He says he left the house early and didn’t know it was going to be so hot. I pipe in with, “Well, why don’t you take those jeans off and just wear your boxer shorts?” The poor boy turns beet red XUP Jr.’s eyes almost fall out of their sockets and onto my Birkenstocks with unspoken horror. “Could you just please stop talking now!!” She hisses at me. I reckon my day’s work was done.