My listDear Teenager:
On this, your fifteenth Christmas with your Dad and me, we'd like to switch it up. (Don't worry, we got your list. And just to set your expectations, as much as we love you, there is no way on God's green earth that we are spending $200 for headphones for you. The ear buds that came with your iPod don't seem to be giving you earaches, so just be happy with them.)
Anyway, while we will be getting some of the stuff on your list, we wanted to give you a few other things we believe you will need as you transition from teenager to adult:
- 1. An education. You've exceeded anything we could have wished for you in high school. And in truth, you've done it with challenges I never faced and yet I never gave nearly the effort you give to school (clearly, you take after Dad in this respect). I am so proud of you. Each time I get a report card, I want to cry like an idiot. Sometimes I do, but then I lie to you and tell you my contact lenses are bugging me. Dad covers for me, but he rolls his eyes at me when you aren't looking.
Keep up the good work and you will be able to go to any college you want and to be anything you want. And really? That will go a long way toward your future.
- 2. Responsibility. You need this, my child. If I'm honest with myself - and I try not to be because that would mean having to look in a mirror and admit my butt is way too fat for skinny jeans - but if I'm really honest with myself I have spoiled you rotten. Your room looks like the Tilly's store threw up in it. There are clothes everywhere. You have ear buds everywhere. If I can't find any ear buds for my iPod, I kick the clothes around in your room and find a pair - and usually they were mine to begin with.
Start taking care of your stuff. This is a prime reason why those headphones aren't on my shopping list. All too soon you will need to pay for all of your own things and trust me, when that happens you will want to know how to take care of them properly. So for Christmas, I am giving you a new chore list. Read it. Do it. Take care of the things in your room and this house and they will last for you.
- 3. Trust. You will be driving on your own soon. I fully expect this to be the catalyst that makes you independent from us. But Dad and I are giving you the gift of trust. We trust that you will be able to remember all that we have taught you and make the right decisions. And if you don't, we have a GPS tracker that Dad can install on your car.
Just kidding. Sort of.
- 4. A loving family. Dad and I aren't the perfect parents we always thought we would be. Dad works long hours. I yell before I know what I'm yelling about. But we have always loved you. We have always wanted the best for you. Since the day you came into our lives, you were number one. So no matter how embarrassing we are, no matter how much we expect from you, no matter how mean we are by not buying you $200 headphones for Christmas, you should know that we always have and always will love you.
Now go get started on that chore list. Your clothes won't pick up themselves, you know.
Mom and Dad
Laurie Sontag is a parenting guru on Shine who wishes motherhood had come with an instruction manual. She muddles through parenting here, on her popular blog, Manic Motherhood and on Facebook, where she avoids doing housework.