Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Me as a High School Freshman

As I think about what kind of mom I will be, I keep having little epiphanies about what it takes to parent a child from infancy to adulthood. Yes, epiphanies. Certainly you could call them "rude awakenings" if you weren't inclined to be a positive person, but I'm going to err on the side of the upbeat here.

Each epiphany has been like G-d's Little Reminder that I CAN do this: to stay calm, suck it up, and do my job no matter what. There is a tremendous joy associated with raising kids, but there is also a new understanding of the following truth: I will learn a new level of love for another human being that is almost primal in nature; this will bring untold joy. At the same time, I will learn a new level of fear and heartbreak that only your child can inflict upon you.

Therefore, it is completely understandable to worry about every little thing you do as a parent: will I mess my kids up? Have I done the right thing? Have I done too much of the right thing? On and on and on...

Well, tonight, beloved readers of The Haggis, I am going to give you a gift. Yep! For those of you who have done the job of parenting, for those of you just beginning the job, and for those of us about to get the full-on fraternity hazing of having a wee one come crashing into our lives, this post is for YOU.

You see, in moving things around to create a baby's room I have come upon some long-packed-away items. I found my college Dining Services name tag, which I will now keep on my desk as a reminder to myself that no matter how bad things may seem at a given time, I am no longer serving a bunch of rich kids their dinner while wearing a hair net. Good times! Good times!

I found a letter I wrote to my parents during my first two weeks in DC at grad school, full of "I have great professors, and I don't walk alone at night, and I ride the metro with three girls who are really great, and I promise, Dad, to use my mace, and I promise, Mom, to not burn the candle at both ends..." Very cute. And kind of interesting to see how long I've been sweet on those two cats--and telling them so! I had forgotten that I missed my parents when we lived apart...

I also found, much to my chagrin, a note I left my parents on 3x5 index cards in my sophomore year of high school telling them,[and I quote] "you totally don't understand me, and I try to understand you but you don't give me any credit for that and I have to obey you because I'm the kid and that is so not fair, and I know you don't like my boyfriend but I do, and I don't know why you are totally not letting me go out with him. This is so unfair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you guys a wicked lot, but I don't know what to do anymore. You DO NOT UNDERSTAND ME." I cringed. And then I laughed and laughed and laughed. If you know my dad, you know he's balding, and what ain't bald is white. The cause? Me. Circa 1988. Mea culpa, pater. Mea culpa.

Okay. But here's the piece de resistance, y'all. I found my JOURNAL from high school. Oh dear lord. I had that big, bubble writing that all teenage girls seem to do no matter what the era. And I will now quote to you a passage directly from said journal in order to reassure you that no matter how unbearable and inscrutable your teenager is, she will turn out just fine:

Okay. Drum roll please........and a reminder that the statute of limitations has indeed expired...

January 18, 1988 (MLK Day)

Hi! I started dating Todd last Thursday and now Ryan wants to go back out with me! What am I gonna do? I like Todd but I really love Ryan. I went over his house last night but Mom thinks I was at the movies with N and Christine A. She's got the nicest shiny red camaro I've ever seen. Anyway, Ryan and I hung out and played video games. But, like, a month ago I met Jeff B; he's a SENIOR! We're awesome friends. Well, he wrote me a note and told me to tell him exactly what I think of him but he's got a girlfriend Kathy M, and she's nice, so what am I totally supposed to do because he's totally cute and how am I not supposed to tell him that--especially when he asked?

And then May 25, 1989:
Oh my god! What a year! C and I are still going out! Ry and I are close friends but it has been hard with us each having someone new. I was Junior Class President and I just got elected Senior Class President. That's awesome! C and I broke up in January and I dated Jeremy, who was totally awesome, but I didn't, like, love him or anything. I totally played tennis and field hockey, and had an awesome time at field hockey camp. We didn't crap for the whole week because the toilets were so gross and because even with the door closed you could totally see in to the person on the toilet. So I was completely sluggish by the end of the week and begged for a substitution so I could run inside and take a crap when the building was empty. Then we all started doing it. We were all calling for a Bathroom Substitution so we could each take a crap without the others watching. It was so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, Haggis readers, just as you are thinking that I must be the most irritating teenager you have ever met and that I must be doing it with all the boys and taking drugs and drinking, here is my PS {which is my whole point: ridiculous teenage behaviors co-exist with exemplary teenage behaviors. Please remind me of this in 14 years...}

ps--I've had my license since September; K totally trashed her parents truck while they were on a trip to Canada; I'm getting the Wellesley College Book Award on Senior Awards Night because I'm ranked 2nd in the class.

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