At 12 years old, my daughter received a phone call one night at around midnight from a person whose voice sounded, well, let’s just say, oldeer than 12. I remember answering the phone and hearing this deep voice on the other end of the line say, “Can I speak to Amanda, please?” How polite of him to say “please”, as if it wasn’t 12:00 midnight, and as if he were asking for a person who might be 21 years old, instead of a preteen girl with her hormones running wild. My reply to him came from deep within, somewhere that my normally pleasant attitude and presentation ceased to exist. Sharply, I asked “Who IS this?” “AJ”, or something of that nature, was his reply. “Do you know what time it is?” I barked back at him. “I’m sorry. I did not realize how late it is”, came his reply in a voice that I was certain was mustered from the core of his very being, in order to sound apologetic and sincere. “Okay, so now that you know what time it is, do you know how old Amanda is?” I asked. Silence. Silence. Silence. Breaking the silence, I continued, “She is 12 years old and you would be wise not to call her again until she turns 18.” Click. End of conversation.
To my knowledge, he did not call back, not even when she was 18. Like I said, that is to my knowledge. Times had changed so much since I was a 12 year old. Looking back, the story is humorous to relate now, but at the time, my motherly instincts went into overdrive. I suddenly became a 12 year old girl again, remembering those moments that I could not get certain unnamed older males off my mind and my hormones were bulging at the seams. Had that phone call happened at my house when I was 12 years old, my dad would have been out with his shotgun, looking for anyone by the name of AJ, shooting, and asking questions later. Actually, that is an exaggeration, but, a true account of how I felt at that age.
Those thoughts caused me to make one decision quickly. I did not tell Amanda’s father about AJ. Amanda and I talked. I think she gained a certain respect for me for not telling her dad. So, we closed that chapter and moved on to the next. There happened to be many chapters after that, and some struggles. In the end, my daughter and I survived.
When Amanda turned 16, she quit school. No, let me rephrase that. She quit school and moved out of our home. She had a friend that was a few years older and had 2 children that asked her to move in. At the time, I thought this was one of the worst decisions of her life, but it turned out to be one of the best. I won’t go too much into how much I got aggravated with requests for rides, borrowing my car, money to help pay their bills, and so on and so forth. I will go into the fact that this experience played a big part in the type of mother Amanda turned out to be. I respect her parenting skill so much that I told her that I wish I had been as good a mother as she.
At 17, Amanda decided she wanted to go back to school. I was so proud of her. She attended the local community college and worked towards a high school diploma. While she was in school, I would pick her up and take her in the mornings and use my lunch time at work to go pick her up from school and take her home. Her education was happening not only on that campus, but at home, as well. During that period of time, she had been getting up with the baby, changing, feeding, and getting him back to sleep before she went to school. Her friend would sleep in until the kids woke up. The exerience she gained in that household with those children proved to be some of the best lessons she learned in life.
My daughter is now almost 27, with a family of her own. She is married to a United States Marine, and has 3 beautiful children. We spend most every weekend together, sometimes with the children, but occasionally without. She cherishes every moment she has with her children, but once in awhile, she will take a break and come visit alone. Those are the times that we share a special kind of fun. Though probably not the kind of fun that one would see as normal mother-daughter enjoyment, it is time well spent.
You see, my daughter is somewhat of a prankster and comedian. Whenever she is around, there is rolling laughter due to her special way of entertaining. A typical day with her might consist of a few hilarious prank calls to aquaintences, or even dressing up in stupid looking outfits to pay a visit to the local Walmart. Grocery shopping has even become entertainment. And, oh yeah, that friend she moved in with all of those years ago, is involved in almost of all of the shenanigans as well.
So, at this time, it pleasures me to share an example of that sick sense of humor that dwells deep within my daughter’s brain, but comes to the surface frequently. One day, recently, while waiting for her friend to come down to my house for a visit, my daughter decided she needed to do something special. We live on a private dirt lane, but it is well traveled by the residents of the neighborhood. This particular day, she took a brand new pair of “titey whiteys” and smeared brown makeup on the seat of them, to make them look like they had been well used by some unfortunate sole who appeared to have eaten something that did not agree with him. This was the only nice way I could think of to describe this, but you get the picture. She put these on along with a t-shirt (tucked in, no less), socks and sneakers. She stood out by the road holding a cardboard sign that read “Will work for beer or other drugs of choice”. This was how she greeted aforementioned friend when she came down the road, not to mention the other spectators that happened by. Ahhhh, the ties that bind.
My point in writing this and sharing these warm family experiences with my daughter is to reflect on the evolvement of parenting into friendship. Though we never stop being a parent, there is a point in our lives where those of us that are fortunate enough, discover that our kids really like us despite the evidence otherwise that is exposed in their younger years. It is important to remember the correct order of this “buddy” situtation that happens. In the early childhood and teenage years, the guidance and discipline you provide as a parent will teach them to follow your lead as a respectable adult. Becoming their “buddy” in their adult years is the most rewarding friendship you can imagine.