Lemon was not easy yesterday.
First, she spent the afternoon texting me (while I was at work) to beg for money.
I will be fair. I owe her money.
I haven’t given her allowance this month.
Her father sent her a birthday gift in the form of a $50 check, and I … deposited it. And never gave her the cash.
Which was really fine. Because she wanted a new (replacement) iPod, and she wanted some boots (after I already bought her boots) and she wanted lots of other things that would come out of her budget, but were my responsibility to purchase.
All to say – she wasn’t demanding the money in a bratty way.
It eventually came out that the reason for the $$ demands was that she wanted to go to the mall.
It may very well be the case that when I was 14, the mall was a common destination.
But it’s also the case that I raise my kids better than that.
We hate the mall.
It gives us HEADACHES.
It makes us CRANKY.
We prefer the internet.
We don’t “go shopping.”
Sometimes, we “have to go shopping.” Maybe we go to second hand stores. Maybe we find awesome boutiques where they have (or might have) the perfect thing.
But shopping isn’t a pastime.
So … the mall?
And I guess that’s where my attention was focused. On the “ick” factor.
So when WD wrote and said, “did you know they plan to take the T?” I was a little surprised.
See, they could have been taking the T to MY mall. And I probably would have balked a little less.
They chose a mall in the suburbs.
Well, not really.
But not a mall where there’s exactly a T stop.
You get off at the stop, and you sort of have to walk down a road that doesn’t have a sidewalk, and where cars go pretty fast, and then you have to sort of trespass over some shrubs and into the parking lot of the mall, and then you have to walk WAY across the mall parking lot to a department store entrance. AND – the last time I did it, it was snowy out. So in my mind, it’s even more horrible.
And it’s pretty perplexing to me that she had this idea.
Because the rule has always been that she could take the T, and she could go into Boston (but not OUT of the urban area?) — before dark. Home by dark.
But this was “we’ll leave home at 6:30 and will be home between 9:30 and 10.”
It’s dark now at 4:30. Or at least — dark enough.
WD and I were both perplexed.
We spoke on the phone: “what is going on?”
and “What should we do?”
Soon, texts and IMs were frustratingly slow, and we had to call each other to quickly convey the perplexment and frustration.
Then we fought over who would call her and tell her.
But he won (sort of — I dictated the conversation).
And he called her.
And told her he’d give them a ride.
I don’t know. We felt pretty good about it. Other parents committed to taking them home, and so it felt like we made our mark – we made our line in the cement, and we were good.
But then at 9:30 – she texted AGAIN.
We thought – when we heard the “brring – brring” of the text – that it was going to be “oh, that other parent can’t come get us – you have to!”
We were wrong.
Instead, it was: “Almost home, but we want to watch a movie at ____’s house. Okay?”
But … that would start at 10.
And I know that it wasn’t a school night (thank you, Veteran’s Day, for making my life different than that of my children’s lives). I know that. And I know she’s “14 YEARS OLD!”
I also know that any house in which she watches movies, parents live in. And for the 9th graders I know, 90% of the parents work. And they work full time. And so that means they DO have to get up before noon.
And I said no.
I said no because neither WD or I wanted to stay up* that late, and I assumed neither did the parents in the house that Lemon was proposing that they watch movies in. Who wants to stay up that late? No one.
But man, was she upset.
“You don’t remember what it’s like to be a teenager! Didn’t YOU want to spend time with your friends!!!??”
Dude. I WANT to spend time with my friends now. Today. There are tons of things that people want all the time. Things they can have, and most things that they can’t. I remember, sure.
Geez. One day, I’d like to give her a more thorough explanation of what it was like to be raised by parents who believed that I should not be friends with people who did not believe that Jesus was their personal lord and savior. And how much I wanted, and how much I didn’t get, until I found a way to get more than what I wanted, because of how little I was allowed to have.**
Eventually, the fit subsided. And she settled in with us, and spent an hour or so as a happy member of the family. By the time she went to bed, the blow up was forgotten.
But it’s not lost on me that the boundaries are being pushed. The curfew (which has never before been later than 11), the distance (never outside our semi-small town) — they’re being stretched and tested.
It was a first, but definitely not a last.
* Actually – we were fine with being *awake* that late. But not kid-oriented. We had decided that we were going to have sex that night. No, really. We’d put it off for days and days because of work and kids and kittens and work, and we wanted to have sex. Finally.
** In all honesty, I think I’ve already told her much of that. Not always on purpose. She was in … 5th grade? Maybe 6th. When she overheard me telling a friend how ridiculously young I was when I engaged in Rebellious Sex. She was so offended. That I hadn’t previously explained the WHY of my teenage years of grounding. I’d told her I was grounded all the time, but hadn’t connected the dots. (Because … hello? 5th grade?) She was angry with me for a year. A full year.