Raising teenagers is like sailing a washtub through the rapids. You know the vessel isn't fully equipped for the journey, but neither is it completely unusable. You find yourself adapting the equipment you have, hoping to get through the white water. Every once in a while, the water calms, and you can catch your breath. It's during those lulls in the current that you, and more importantly your child, realize you have more in common than you think. You stop fighting the current, and each other, and rest in the calm waters. My 16 year old daughter and I had such a moment yesterday. A beautiful realization that there was commonality between us occurred, and she saw me not as her mother, maker of the rules, enforcer of the dress code, mistress of "Is your homework done?", but as a woman, who quite possibly might have someday, long ago, been a teenager. It all started with a Facebook post from her, that said simply, "Mark Wahlberg is the finest 39 year old alive."
Mark Wahlberg. Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Mark Wahlberg, Calvin Klein underwear model. My Mark Wahlberg?? My daughter was fawning over Mr. Bad Boy of the 90's? My baby, who was transitioning into underwear as he was parading around on stage in hs, thought he was fine? Apparently so. Carpe Diem. Sieze the day.
"You know, I had a crush on him when I was a little older than you."
"Nuh UH!! Seriously?"
"Seriously. He's aged well."
"Wow! I never knew that!"
There's a lot you don't know, little girl. Quite a bit of it will stay that way. :) But it makes me laugh when my kids receive the inevitable thunderbolt realization that I'm not that different, and certainly had similar teenage experiences. The feather in my cap of course, is when they realize that much of what they find interesting and claim for their own generation, is rehashed material from mine.
What my kids don't fully realize yet, is that teenage angst is universal. All of us who have arrived at the ripe old age of 40-something, have survived what our parents, at the time, tried to convince us was "the best years of our life." We knew without a shadow of a doubt that our parents couldn't possibly understand what we were going through, nor appreciate the finer things in life we craved as far as music and culture. Think Vanilla Ice. Think legwarmers. Our children are in the same predicament. We, as parents, just don't get it. No matter how we try to explain that we do. Flares, my love, were called bellbottoms. Low rise jeans were called hiphuggers. That whole "shirt off the shoulder" thing? Flashdance. We started it. You just revived it. Don't even get me started on wedge sandals.
"Mom, come listen to this beat. It's SICK!!" As I start humming the bass line, my daughter stares at me in disbelief. "How do you know this? This isn't your music." I smiled and replied, "Oh sweet child of mine, this hook and most of the lyrics are from "Every Breath You Take", written by Sting, recorded by the Police in 1983, on their "Synchronicity" album. This is from the soundtrack of my life." She smiled at me and said, "Mine too." Then she put her head on my shoulder, and we watched "Three Kings" starring, Mark Wahlberg.
Enjoy the calm waters.