My daughter is 14 years old. This fall, she will be a freshman in high school. When I ask her to make her bed, she groans. When I tell her she needs to babysit her brother for a couple of hours, she acts as if I've just harvested a kidney from her. Nothing is ever easy with her right now.
Now, I understand the need for a young person to assert her independence. After all, she needs to figure out who and what she is. However, I'm not sure how staying in bed until two o'clock in the afternoon aids her on her road to self-discovery.
I remember being 14. It wasn't an easy age. I didn't have it quite as good as she does. My summer vacations were usually spent going on service calls with my father and brothers, who were all plumbers. June through August, my days were full of sewage and water heaters and faucets and toilets. At the time, I hated it. Now, looking back, I know that I am a better person because of it. A harder worker. A more loving husband and father. Plus, I learned that I did NOT want to be a plumber, which made me strive even harder in high school and college.
I'm not saying I want my daughter to get a job and work all summer. What I'm saying is that I want my daughter to behave like a civilized human being instead of a surly, resentful primate--otherwise known as a teenager.
Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired three years ago, when my daughter was still communicating with me in full sentences instead of grunts and eye rolls.
June 27, 2012: Topper, Daughter's Friend, Boys
"Well! I'm very glad to hear it," said Scrooge's nephew, "because
I haven't any great faith in these young housekeepers. What do you say, Topper?"
had clearly got his eye upon one of Scrooge's niece's sisters, for he
answered that a bachelor was a wretched outcast, who had no right to
express an opinion on the subject. Whereat Scrooge's niece's
sister--the plump one with the lace tucker; not the one with the
Topper is Scrooge's nephew Fred's
best friend. He also seems to be pretty horny, since he spends most of
the party at Fred's house chasing after the young woman above. It's a
charming little detail in the book, and certainly Topper seems harmless
enough. He just wants to grab himself some Christmas cheer, put a
little nog in his egg, if you get my meaning.
brings me to my subject for this morning: boys. Particularly, horny
boys. My daughter's best friend is a boy. Notice that I didn't say,
"my daughter's boyfriend." My daughter has been hanging with this boy
since she's been seven or eight years old. They're the same age and get
along well, when they're not annoying the shit out of each other, which
they frequently do. Just this past weekend, they unfriended themselves
on Facebook on Saturday, and then friended themselves again on Sunday.
not naive. I know my daughter is reaching the age where boys start
coming into the picture. (She's eleven years old.) One of my friends
(who is of the opposite gender) said to me yesterday, "Oh, yeah.
They're going to end up dating," speaking of my daughter and her best
My initial reaction to her statement was, "Over
my dead body." Even though I really like this kid, and have for
several years, I just can't make that leap in my mind from best friend
who is a boy to boyfriend. Of course, I'm still in the mindset that my
daughter is going to be too focused on dancing or music or collecting
comic books or anything else besides hanging out with someone who has a
It didn't help that my daughter sent me a picture she took of herself yesterday:
Saint Marty is in big trouble.
Confessions of Saint Marty
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