My daughter officially turned 15 last night.? (And I officially became OLD.? Although I’m certain she’s aging in dog years compared to me — or me to her??)? Of course as a 15 year old, she had to have a ParTay, and of course that meant inviting several other teenage buggers as well.? So how many to invite… how about 10.? TEN?? Only Ten? Okay, 12? 12.? Twelve?? Yes, 12. 12 is good.? She gives me a look like I’m asking her to disown the rest.? But she won’t tell me how many the “rest” is.
Now, I love teenagers.? I really do.? I work with hundreds of them every day, and it’s the best part of my job.? They’re kinda like adults, only quirkier, and they ramble a little more when they talk.? And unlike adults, when they start blathering on about some random topic or another of which you care absolutely nothing about, you can stop them in their tracks just by saying “Would you just sit down and shut up already?” and they will totally respect you for it.*? If it’s an adult doing the blathering, you have to feign interest and periodically say things like “oh yeah, those crazy [Democrats/ Republicans/ Cavs/ Buckeyes]” and wait it out.
And honestly, it’s not the teenager part of “having teenagers in my house” part that gets me; it’s the house part. As in, I want it to exist — status quo — when I’m back down to one.? So we narrow it down to 16, which by last night turned into 20. **
Now that it’s over, I have to say it wasn’t so bad : )? Like I said, they really are quite pleasant, quirky people.? Even if they can scarf down more frozen pizzas than I can fit in my freezer.? They don’t even care that was crappy pizza.? They say things like “Sweet!” and “Thank you!” and “Cool, there’s more!”? Cause with teenagers, it’s about the little things.? Little things make them feel good, and little things make them feel bad.? That’s why they’re so melodramatic.? They’re just experiencing every nuance that life has to offer.
When it came to my daughter’s presents, it was definitely the little things that made her day.? Like the bright red lipstick and nail polish she got from her best friend.? I’m sure it was a joke and not (dear lord) to wear, and the fact that it was wrapped in 2.6 miles of duct tape made it even more special.? And the helium balloon that the boy down the street got her that made her squeal like a 3 year old again.? And the shoes a friend gave her, I’m pretty sure just because she borrowed them one too many times.? And the faux mehendi I did using an eyeliner pencil was special enough for her to beg for a touch-up at the end of the evening.
I think what most sticks in my mind is how diverse the party was.? When I attended high school, there was no real diversity.? Everyone was caucasian, and most shared a similar heritage and religious tradition.? It wasn’t until I went to college that I really learned about other cultures, and I remember being utterly amazed by it all.? I made friends from literally around the globe, and they challenged my perceptions completely.? To see my daughter just entering high school surrounded by life-long friends of all colors and backgrounds was comforting; to know that she is open and accepting just because she couldn’t imagine otherwise, even better.
The whole evening (after three loads of dishes, two bags of recycling, and an hour and a half disinfecting) was not so bad after all.? Maybe, just maybe, we’ll do it again next year.? Cause you know, kids these days… they’re pretty okay.
……. with love and warm fuzzies and a clean house, C.
*Please know that I would NEVER do this.? (to your child.) (if you were watching.)
** this, by the way, is “teen math”.? It’s how they multiply when you aren’t paying attention.