I have been waiting three years for a disaster. My daughter, Tay, is 5’1″, barely over 100 pounds, with long blonde hair, and sparkling blue eyes of wonder. One minute she’s quiet, the next she’s embullient. Without warning she can strike. She’s fifteen years old.
I’m still waiting.
“What’s on your mind, baby.” My wife asked.
“Our daughter isn’t rebellious. She’s too good to be true. Where’s the crazy hairstyle, the out of control attitude, the unacceptable friends, the piercing we can’t believe?” I bemoaned.
“Are you really hoping Tay misbehaves? Be thankful she’s sooo good!” My wife told me.
A little over three years ago I met a 12 year old Taylor aka Tay, her now 6 year old sister Carly aka “the Goose”, and their mom, my wife, Deana aka Bobina. Everyone told me that what the Tay thought of me would determine my relationship with her mom. They were right. Tay and I got a long brilliantly. We were friends. Then, I married Bobina in November 2008 and everything changed. Tay didn’t like me anymore. I became her dad.
I started fearing her teenage years and high school. Twenty six years ago I was 15. That’s a generation ago. When I was 15 my parents took away my Whitesnake Slide It In cassette, calling it “trash”. They were strict and authoritarian. We never talked about music or sports or sex. I lived in fear of them. That sparked rebellion. I drank some, I made a few bad grades, I dated some awful girls, and I acted out. Tay does none of this.
“Don’t you think Tay is kind of boring?” I asked my wife?
“No, I think she’s 15, not like you or me at that age, and she’s amazing.” Bobina responded.
Then I talked to my daughter and found out the real reason rebellion has been squashed in my home.
“You and mom act sorta young . You joke, you’re dorky and you’re all dumb and stuff. It’s hard for me to walk around mad or rebel. Things are cool.” Tay revealed.
You’re reading that right. Because her mom and I are so awesome, Tay has no choice but to be a good kid. That’s how I took it. Ok, maybe that’s presumptous and sarcastic.
My parents did a good job raising me. I became the first person to graduate college in my entire family. By 18 years old, I was living on my own, earning my way, and considered mature. What I didn’t get from my folks that Tay and her two sisters (we have a 7 year old named Lyla aka Bug) get is affection, heart to heart talks, and understanding. My mom and dad didn’t get me or give me break. I didn’t begin talking to them about my life until 5 years ago, when I was well in my thirties and divorced. My father and I are friends now. I didn’t see that coming.
My wife and I do act young. We have tattoos. We listen to better music than my teenager. Most of all, we talk and love our girls with as little judgement as necessary. This seed planting is bearing fruit in the form of Tay, our level-headed 15 year old.
I’m not declaring mission accomplished. The disaster could happen tomorrow. Tay has a friend who is a boy. I doubt that will end well. It rarely does. Her classes have gotten harder in her sophomore year and thus her grades are slightly lower. She doing great at cheerleading but learning to handle a tough coach and the politics that surround her sport. Last night, her mom and I handled a delicate situation with the c0ach that could have been a major problem. I think Tay is teaching her mom and I how to grow up. There will be driving and the unexpected I’m not ready to face. But, I am satisfied that my differing style of parenting from my folks is working, for now. On a recent ride home from cheerleading practice I broke down and talked to Tay about what I was writing. Her answer blew me away
“Well, you know, I’m kind of happy most of the time. You and mom don’t make me mad that much. You listen to me. You let me talk. Even when I get grounded, it’s because I did something worth getting grounded. You don’t have better music than me. My music is the best because it’s good not shocking with bad words. I mean if you want me color my hair and my finger nails black and yell at you, I’ll do it, but whatever. I want some Doritos.”
Cue the Rage Against the Machine.
This is a guest post I wrote for katie and cortney at www.sluiternation.com in late July with some slight updates.
Riding in the car yesterday listening to today’s song and then reading Dawnie’s blog – http://www.thedawnieproject.com/ also highlighting the song, I decided to post this.
Today’s song is something I call the compromise. I’ve tried to find music Tay and I can agree on so we can listen to stuff in the car that doesn’t make me want to punch the dashboard. I like Maroon 5. They have 2 or 3 songs per album that are decent pop records. Adam Levine sings lead for this hip hop pop tune by Gym Class Heroes. It really bounces off the radio. Tay and I love to listen and sing along. Here’s Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine with Stereo Hearts.