It was a scary time for me this past weekend. My fright may have been quiet, but let me assure you that it was real. I was dealing with a situation that would drive most sensible minds and strong hearts straight to the emergency room. By now, those of you have read me have figured out that it is something to do with the teenage female contingent that share my living quarters. Ever since they both became teenagers, there have made my existence as stable as a raft ride down the River of No Return.
For those of you who are raising children right now who have not yet attained the age of puberty, let me tell you that they will soon graduate from a small nuisance into a genuine societal menace.
I ask all of you who possess a single drop of human kindness and compassion to sit down now and firmly grasp the arms of your chair while I reveal to you the situation that transformed this normally calm, stoic, rational man into a weeping, quivering mass of raw nerves.
Cleopatra and Bathsheba were embarking on an unsupervised shopping to trip to a mall 75 miles away armed with a car, (oh, my god!!) . . . Cash, (Egads! But wait it gets worse) . . . and a (Gulp) . . . CREDIT CARD!!
All I can say is that that they must have caught their mother, Brunhilda, at a weak moment or else they had some serious dirt on her because she usually avoids decisions that endanger lives or puts us on the brink of financial disaster. I think Brunhilda was the victim of blackmail and extortion. I think she had the choice of allowing this dangerous frolic or go with them. Anyone who has ever accompanied these two on a shopping trip would be akin to juggling chainsaws. I have been on a shopping trip and sacrificed a part of my sanity. Sending these two to the mall with a car and a credit card is about an eight and a half on the danger scale. For purposes of comparison, given Iran atomic weapon is around a three.
Had I been given the options that Brunhilda did, I would have probably made the same choices as an act of self-defense. However, as an act of fiscal responsibility it made me look like my brain was not getting any oxygen.
I believe that as a parent we went above and beyond the call of duty. Normally the job of parents is to serve healthy meals, finance braces, go to dull concerts and recitals, change diapers, sit in the stands and cheer when your child strikes out three times, provide security and love and listen attentively when they tell us how to drive and what to wear so we don’t “look like geeks.” Nowhere in the handbook does it say we should ever unleash teens in pairs with a financed car, cash in their pockets and a credit card. If Bathsheba ever received word that the world end tomorrow the only thing that would be important to her was to run up the Visa balance.
My past experience has taught me this: Nothing, I repeat nothing, including modern warfare, can match the fierce intensity of teenagers competing with one another to spend their parent money.
As it turns out, all is well that end well. The car is safely back in the garage and the girls have had another round of their “needs” met. I am somewhat poorer but serene in the knowledge that the girls will not have to face the ravages or split ends, or bear the embarrassment of showing up with the wrong color finger nail polish or the proper scent for the occasion.
As you may have guessed from this blog and the ones before it, I am only doing my job. The father is supposed to appear as the frazzled, unreasonable old fogie and I work on this every day.