We are born into this world, with the misguided idea that we are the world. And that those around us (especially those whose genes have been handed to us) gives a God’s honest, large amount of crap about everything we say, feel and think. And why wouldn’t you? From birth, there are two people (maybe more) who jump up at your every cry and whimper. Truth be told, whomever is having their ass wiped (wipee) has all the control – not the wiper.
But then you get older; as your ability to form sentences and comprehend the language around you strengths. So does people wanting you to conform to their will. Your every cry no longer brings people running to your aid. The people who once applauded everything you wrote, said, thought – aren’t as amused anymore. It’s all a part of growing up.
This is why turning into a teenager is tough.
But then you – the teenager – begins to think you can stand on your own. After all, you are being told to act more adult. (If you’re being raised correctly -) you have chores, an allowance and the limited freedom to make plans on your own. You have your own thoughts, your secrets, a life away from the people who take care of you. And though you still need them for the house that you sleep in, the clothes on your back and the food in your stomach – you’re able, as a teenager, to believe that you’re grown. What you desire most in all of that is the respect of the adults around you. Because, after all, you believe yourself to not be that far from one.
I understand all of that and yet, the other day when during a conversation Lil Burs uttered “But it’s my life! I should get to decide.” I, unlike her father, slapped my knee and bursted out laughing; without a care for the fragile misgivings the lil one has about where she stands on this hierarchy of decision makers.
Because in reality, as you and I and other (logical thinking) adults know, it is: her biological mum, her biological dad, step-dad and me, her grandparents (on either side), then her.
And as she threw an icy look my way, her far more with it and concerned father (who I’m sure never uttered such a statement to his folks) explained that though she has a say, in the end, it is not entirely her decision. I tried to lower my snickering to a low chortle, rather than a laugh gaff. But it was hard. Oh, so very hard.
Because I remember uttering the same silly statement, at what I’m sure turned out to be my two laughing parents, as well. Which now I finally understand, why, the statement was/is so funny*. And though Burs never got the stomach exercise I did, I shared this with others who thanked me for the good, whole hearted laugh. Making me thankful that it wasn’t only me who saw the humour in it.
And seeing as how it was the first time she’d said it (though I doubt it will be the last), I’ll do my best to not find it less humorous as I found it this time. But, really, I make no guarantees.
*Just in case you don’t know why this statement is funny – let me explain. It’s because you actually have a very short window when your life is your own. It isn’t when you’re dependent on anyone else for everything that keeps you alive. Which knocks out all those years from birth to college graduate (unless you pay for college/university from your own pocket). Now you’re an adult. If you have a partner then you’re in the constant battle called compromise. (Want to buy that new sports car – gotta get the ole lady to say yes. And how many women don’t sneak in new clothes to the house, hoping their hubbies don’t find out?) Add kids to that – yep, your life is even further from belonging to you. Now you’re tending to this other being. And that being is demanding! You try to make plans the way you might have done before but those don’t work out the way they use to because they are either A. babies – need I say more; B. adolescents where they need to be watched closely; or C. teenagers who are bored and annoyed all. the. time. Nope. The only time you have complete control of your life is that time between these two stages. When you’re single, working, and living on your own. But then for some, your career may own your ass. (I’m looking at you lawyers and doctors.) Or any other number of responsibilities. This is just how life is. But go ahead, think that it is all yours and you can do with it what you’d like. Hear that noise? It’s me still laughing.