There comes a time in life when someone else takes center stage; when you realize your only talent is making a good background in selfies because of your 70mm body. In fact, you are never a part of most selfies. Instead, you find yourself standing in the middle of nowhere laden with used masks, empty bottles, heavy bags and a frowning face, looking like some monochrome laptop as against a sleek MacBook Pro. It is time you understood, no matter how much makeup you dabbed, or branded clothes and shoes you flaunted, it is the teen standing next to you that is the center of the universe. Alas, your time has passed!
Our firstborn turned a new leaf – she is officially teen! And yes, I totally saw it coming. There were signs. First, the strands on my head started to turn silver. I ignored them. But then, fine lines of wisdom started to make their crevices on my once young face. I flinched. And finally, dark eye circles. I solemnly declare I am 1000% related to the panda. Weight wise, I was always there. Diet wise, going green has always been a policy. But with the latest addition – dark circles, it’s time to lap up all eye make up there is, in stores. Or would a focus on dressing-up make up for for my increasing palpitations and exponentially growing mid-life crisis?
The little fur ball has grown. I can’t claim it all happened without warning. There were bad omens lurking in front of my eyes. But I was in complete and utter denial.
- I should have seen it coming when she went from the chubby kid next door to the skinny girl looking like thin crust pizza. But I ignored it.
- I should have engaged her in sports when chatting and low murmurs replaced running and fighting in the playground. But with school and PSLE and COVID, wouldn’t a child need a break?
- I should have heeded to my tattletale of a 9-year-old about this bunch of older girls having PG13 conversations. But that would go against the right to freedom and expression.
- I should have taken action and cut off the internet connection when watching Netflix PG13 shows became more important than breathing. But what about my own binge watching?
- I should have improved my fashion quotient (which never really existed) and lost some pounds to look at least like an average mother of a fancy teen in a flashy city. Sigh, that is never happening.
- I should have confiscated that smart phone – the one gadget that keeps her abreast of KPop, chat, selfies, memes and everything in the world except serving its most important purpose – making real phone calls! I wonder if it’s COVID or this generation that prefers all PDA via ‘ WApp Status’ only. But I have been more bothered about FB’s usage of my data instead.
- And finally, I should have handed her a book on creative writing knowing well, her most frequently used, rather abused words have been – ‘amazing’ and ‘mean’. Whatever does this generation do with the rest of 1021998 words in the English language? But then, I was plain lazy.
Years ago, when I turned 13, there was no hoo haa about it. The greatest event of the year was getting my periods, not an IPhone. And yes, I certainly did not know anyone who was either simply amazing or absolutely mean. My vocabulary spread like a lavish buffet between the two extremes. The word fashion wasn’t a part of Merriam Webster back then. School, friends and food made up for it. Birthdays came by annually without any cake, candles or midnight-wishing rituals. My mother’s culinary skills were good enough to perk me up. Mom didn’t look like she needed to over-dress to stop her hair from greying or age from showing. She didn’t even look like she was going through any crisis – neither mid-life nor after life.
But now, everything seems like such a big deal. Being the mother of a teen is no mean feat. I proudly declare, I belong to this helicopter parent generation. And for the sheer lack of purpose in life, I have decided to pen down my top three goals as a teen mom, or the mother of a teen:
- Be the embarrassing mom that overly hugs and kisses the extremely self-conscious teen in public places, making her the subject matter of ridicule among peers.
- Be the out-in-the-face mom that sounds friendly and cool making crucial conversations about crushes fun. But in hindsight, walks the streets, clubs in hand, threatening her crushes to maintain safe distance.
- Be the health freak mom that pushes her teen to fill herself to the brim with healthy greens while making sure she stays fit too. Copyrighted ideas include letting dogs on the loose to chase the teen so that she has no choice but to run, which happens to be a great source of cardio.
Cycling away with her gadgets so my teen has no go but to skate and catch up with me in order to get her items back. Another fun workout! However, as a fair warning, do not try these if you live outside of Asia. Your child is of age to make a police complaint and send you behind bars on grounds of torture. And that is not the kind of bar you are used to. But here in Asia, you shall be honored with the badge of ‘Tiger Mom’. So go ahead.
With these goals, I am so ready to face any adversities teenage can bring in the way of my good parenting. Although, I can only hope she does not lay her hands on this blog. I cannot let my master plan leak.
P.S. Jokes apart, this is the best time of life. To see teenage once again, up, close and personal feels special. Life is an all new game now, not the old school world where I once grew up. However, the only constant across generations are the feelings we feel. Teens still feel on top of the world. They feel beautiful. They want to grow up quickly. They love getting pampered. They have a mind of their own. And yes, crushes certainly form a part of their lives. I wish for my newly turned teen and every other to enjoy every bit of her wonder years.