How to Argue with a Teen from Opposite Sides of the Mississippi

December 1, 2010

Not necessarily something I wanted to become versed in.

This past week, the girls and I (with WD in tow) went in opposite directions for the holiday.  They went to visit their father in the Middle of the Country, and we went to New Orleans, where we ate awesome food, went to jazz shows, and basically had a fantastic time all-around.

But on Friday evening – while WD and I sat in a coffee shop, enjoying some Earl Grey tea (me) and some hot cocoa (him) while trying to decide where to eat dinner, we had a blip. [but then we moved on to choose Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA for dinner, and man, was that divine.  Holyyyyyyyy crap.  Yum.]

Lemon texted me.  It was one sentence to start:

Next time, I’m bringing my laptop.

I am not sure I was cued in to the attitude at the start.  I responded with an innocent question (“why?”) and a different topic (“why is your sister ignoring my texts?”)

But I misread it.

She was on a tear, one that would not be let go of until I was properly put in my place.

She had to let me know:

  1. how unfair it was that she could not video chat with her friends
  2. how ridiculous it was that all she had was her “fone” (FYI, “fone” = iPhone. Yeah, she’s 14, and she has an iPhone.  Oh, the injustice of it all …)
  3. how unfair it was that “everyone is spending their days off having fun and I can’t b wit ppl” [true spellings]
  4. the awfulness resulting from the fact that “all my friends are hanging out and they want to vid chat and i cant”
  5. But then we had to “Nvm” because “u don’t understand.”

oh dear lord.

Then I had to “go back in time, divorce your parents, and then say that.” [in response to saying i was sure that i – on some level – did understand.]

Because the lack of a LAPTOP and VIDEO CHAT is a direct result of the divorce.


When I suggested she spend the time with her father – instead of “vid chatting” – she scoffed.  When I reminded her that the reason for the lack of the computer in the Middle of the Country was directl yrelated to the loss of the iPod when she was last there … the loss that was basically shrugged off by everyone but me, but then adeptly hidden by me with my mother who spent $200 on said iPod …

The response?

“Oh, I just found it – just now. while texting with you.”

The same iPod that I was assured he ahd “torn the house apart” looking for was “oops, under the sheets” of Lemon’s bed.  For the past SIX MONTHS.

Excuse me for not sending the $1,200 laptop to the Middle of the Country, after living through power cords left behind and not sent for 3 months; iPods lost and shrugged off; and other ridiculous episodes involving the person I am SO GLAD not to be married to any more.

The person who thinks that because I am a junior associate at a large law firm, lap tops grow on trees in my living room.  iPods procreate in my toilet, and college tuition is plucked from my ears on the tip of a Q-tip on a daily basis.

While he – the poor college professor – manages to travel to (and LIVE in ) Miami, Princeton, Italy, Turkey, London, and various other places, all while having baby after baby, and while I’m barely making ends meet, freaking out about  college tuition, summer camp, the rate at which the girls grow (4 inches in 6 months?  Hello?), and how I can give them a well cultured childhood.

Deep breaths.

Lemon and I continued to bicker back and forth until I said “Goodnight.”

The next day, she sent me some random update about Christmas specials, followed up with “but i’m still annoyed.”  Oh no, please daughter, don’t be annoyed with me!!

My real response:  “so am I.”

She was aghast!  What?!  YOU are annoyed with ME?  Why???

I told her that her text-tantrum was wholly unacceptable and obnoxious, but we’d talk about it when she got home.

She didn’t text me again after that.

WD and I had a fine travel day home.  The plane ride went super-fast thanks to Anne Rice and a long nap.  (What better to read leaving New Orleans than Anne Rice’s Witching Hour, set for the most part in the place we just left, romanticizing it and giving it some magic?)

But once we landed, I started bracing myself for the Wrath of Lemon.  I expected an attitude, a withholding of hugs or kind greetings.  I was steeling myself to not have an inappropriate reaction in hte airport.  WD was helping me to do so, reminding me that the home was the better place for mom-lectures.

Their plane landed at 10 p.m. that night.  As they rounded the corner,

Lemon beamed at us.  Gave us huge hugs, was full of smiles and chatter about her flight and the things she did in the Middle of the Country.

I guess we survived that, then.


One comment

  1. And I thought having a 3 and half year old daughter was rough! Yikes!!!

    Glad your end of the trip was pleasant, though! And of course The Witching Hour was perfect reading.

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