Saturday, August 22, 2009
This one time at band camp...
Reminiscing has been my favorite hobby lately. I find myself lost in thought, dreaming about my high school days and all the fun I had back then. I think it’s a common occurrence when you hit your forties. You realize the brevity of life, and it’s comforting to look back and know that you’ve lived your days to the fullest. One recent afternoon as I was strolling down memory lane, a terrifying thought screeched across my brain and stopped me dead in my tracks: what if my kids turn out like me?
Anyone who knew me intimately in my teen years knew that I was a bad, bad girl. On the outside, I was the preppy teen who made good grades and was a member of the marching band. I didn’t get in trouble at school because I made a point of behaving and living just below the radar. I wore Izod shirts, penny loafers and khaki skirts. Hell, I was even a Candy Striper at the hospital! It was hard not to notice the halo floating above my head, right? Not even close.
What the outside world didn’t get to see was that I was a drinking, smoking, punk-music-loving kind of badass. I spent my weekends sneaking out of my bedroom window to go party, or sneaking people into my bedroom window to party. I frequented my best friend’s college dorm room while I was a high school senior, where we spent our time smoking pot, playing quarters and just generally sinning and breaking the law. Ah yes, good times, they were. I don’t know how I made it out alive. It was just pure luck that I never ended up in jail, dead on the side of the road, or with a communicable disease.
I was a master at lying to my parents. They must have thought I held a Guinness World Record for having seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the midnight movie so many times. This was a lie that never seemed to wear out. It allowed me to spend the evening raising hell, and my parents wouldn’t expect me to be home until 3am. Yes, after six kids, they didn’t care how late I was out. Even still, I was a master liar who got away with murder, so to speak. Did my parents not wonder why I needed to get a hotel room on prom night? Maybe they were just too tired to care.
With this sort of history behind me, it makes me wonder how my kids will ever be able to get away with anything. Even though I am several years from having teens, I’m already the Drill Sergeant and Gate Keeper who grills them on a daily basis. “Did you brush your teeth like I asked? Come here, and let me smell your breath to be sure.” “Did you wash your hands? I’m going to go check the sink for bubbles, so I hope you’re telling me the truth.” This is either going to keep them on the straight and narrow, or they are going to raise hell tenfold over what I did. I haven’t decided yet.
It’s really pointless for me to worry about it now. I’m a strong believer in fate and karma, so I’m preparing myself for the challenge. My daughter already delights in tattoos, older men and hiking up her skirt, so I have my work cut out for me. Like mother like daughter, I guess. They just need to know that I do still recognize the smell of marijuana smoke, know all the best places to stash liquor and other contraband in the house, and oops, sorry honey, that window must have been painted shut.