Tuesday, July 27, 2010
When Lydia Had A Teenager...
Lucy’s mom (my stepmother) had died six months prior. Lucy always had trouble getting along with our dad once she became a teenager and their relationship had gone from bad to worse. Plus, she had come to the conclusion that feelings were bad. So she decided not to have them anymore. Beer – good. Partying – good. School and feelings – bad. And though her friends were loyal and loved her, many of them were making (ahem) extremely unhealthy choices so it wasn’t exactly a wholesome environment, unless you’re Caligula.
Also, she wasn’t going to graduate. And she didn’t have a license. Or, health insurance. This girl was such a train wreck that actual train wrecks would see her and pause and be like, “That is such a shame.” She was in pain, she was grieving, she was angry and she was just... lost.
The rules are below. Following each one, in italics, are the things I would have added, had I known what I know now.
2) No drinking, no smoking, no drugs. Drinking and drug use equals rehab or eviction. Not a nice rehab, either. (Do you recall the rehabs that are “exposed” on shows like Dateline? That’s what I’m talking about. Let’s put it this way: you’d prefer jail. )
3) 100% honesty – about classes, friends, boys, money, etc. You don’t have to disclose everything but if asked – you must answer honestly. We promise to do the same. (Becoming a master of evasiveness does not really jibe with the 100% honesty policy. But I understand. Because sometimes I spend too much money at Target and then have to try make sure the Cap’n doesn’t realize it without actually lying. It’s hard. So I’m actually in awe of your mastery of the art of evasiveness. Do they teach that in high school now? Along with how to text 100 words per minute?)
4) Must help out around the house without anyone bugging you to do so. (That includes picking up after yourself. That means not leaving a trail of flip flops, hoodies, and books from English 12 that you are not reading in the family room so that by the end of the week it becomes an enormous pile of crap dubbed “Lucy North”)
5) You do chores. We pay you. (Garbage night is on Monday. Every Monday. Monday is the first day of the week. Every week. Should I text you the day of the week? Would that help you remember when Mondays occur?)
6) No friends over unless the Cap’n and Lydia a) know them and b) have given their permission in advance. Probably none until first set of grades show everything is going well and we have adjusted to having the new baby around. And absolutely no one in the house when the adults aren’t home. (You see the baby is about to be born, and there’s going to be breastfeeding and that means boobies. Out. Where your friends can see them. So, our house isn’t going to be a good spot for entertaining. Also, your last set of friends were hooligans. Also, you don’t qualify as ‘the adults’.)
7) Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there. (When you move across the USA — at great heart ache and expense – and into your pregnant sister’s house so that you can focus on education and possibly even graduation, you might not want to cut class – or your pregnant sister may lose her Schmidt.)
8) Curfew is 11. (11 o’clock AT NIGHT. I didn’t know I would have to clarify AM or PM, but thanks for that little education. Duly noted.)
9) All school assignments go on the big calendar in kitchen so that everything is turned in on time. Lydia reserves the right to be a bugger about school and Lucy reserves the right to tell her it’s all under control (provided she is maintaining a B average or better). (No, I am not micro-managing you. I am *parenting* you. Good grades are important. That means studying. And IM’ing people on Facebook does not count as “doing research”.)
10) No sleep-overs. (We would have been happy to renegotiate. Had any of your friends not been DUDES.)
So, how did it turn out? She broke a couple of rules and taught the kids some inappropriate dance moves. Our time together was horrifically stressful and wildly successful. Here’s the success part: Lucy finished 11 classes in one academic year (with a 3.9 GPA). She graduated with multiple honors and a scholarship. Barely studied for SAT’s and got 1840. She has insurance and is a licensed (though by no means safe) driver. She is currently a dorm-dwelling college freshman who never returns my phone calls (until there’s a crisis). We miss her a lot, especially on Monday night.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010
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