There was a time — oh, fifteen years ago or so — when I was in control. Not really, of course, but significantly more in control that I am now. It was up to me to take care of my toddler daughter. I chose what she wore, what she ate, when she slept, what we did together on the weekends. It was all about her, but it was all organized by me.
As the mother of a teenager, I don't get a whole lot of appreciation. But, in all honesty, there wasn't much appreciation back when she was little either. She was happy and healthy so I knew I was doing a good job. And, I got hand-drawn love notes on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and my birthday.
Best of all, I was never to blame.
These days, I am to blame for ... well ... pretty much everything. My bad decisions, my lame rules, the weather. Yep, pretty much everything.
For the record, your honor, following is a list of recent crimes against the adolescent, for which I (apparently) can be, but (definitely) should not be, blamed.
It's simply not my fault.
It's not my fault that you were late leaving for work because you set your alarm clock for 7:00 pm rather than 7:00 am.
It's not my fault you can't find your old turquoise North Face jacket. It's also not my fault that I didn't realize that there are "designated stable fleeces" when I suggested you simply wear another one. (You have at least a dozen, dear.)
It's not my fault that your AP U.S. History teacher decided there was too much work for a field trip while the other AP U.S. History teacher took his class to visit the S.S. Constitution (and, adding insult to injury, took everyone for McFlurries on the way back to school — clearly nothing says early American history like Mickey D's).
It's not my fault that one of your favorite bands is coming to town (YES!) and they're playing at an over-21 club (NO!).
It's not my fault that the people who built our house in 1830 didn't anticipate your need for 8 pairs of boots and 4 pairs of Converse and a closet to accommodate them.
It's not my fault that two of your BFFs couldn't go to Laser Quest with you last night after all because their respective parents made them stay home and babysit their respective siblings.
It's not my fault that the third season of Dance Moms isn't available on Netflix or Amazon Prime and that when you found it online the WiFi was buggy and the streaming video was not streaming. (See note above regarding the age of our home — we're fortunate to have indoor plumbing much less reliable wireless.)
I could continue.
My daughter plans to pursue an equine studies business major (yes, that does really exist — who knew?). But, I've asserted for years that she should really be a lawyer. She has a sense of justice beyond the laws of man or nature. She has an unfailing memory for past slights (and anticipated future wrongs). And she has the ability to argue her case, passionately, regardless of rules, evidence or even common sense.
I rarely win these arguments because what my daughter does not seem to have is a willingness to admit defeat.
Still, on the counts listed above (and countless more), I have to plead "Not guilty, your honor."
Now, if I can just find that North Face jacket, maybe I can get time off for good behavior ...
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