Thursday, May 12, 2016

Changing Tires

“Are we running away from home?” I asked.
My mother had laughed. I couldn’t see her face, but her laugh I could always conjure—rich, ringing, like bells calling you to a wedding. “No, silly goose. You can’t run away from home. It’s not home if you want to run away from it.” She paused to brush a strand of hair from my face. “You can only run away from a house. Home is something you run toward.” 
― Michele JaffeGhost Flower

I can't tell you how many times I say that when I was their ages the LAST place I wanted to be was home. Not that I didn't love my home or my parents…I did tremendously. I just wanted to be a teenager and live my life without a chaperone. There was some excitement in hiding from the parents and seeing what you could do when no one was watching. I remember driving to San Diego for an overnight trip only to return exhausted the next day just to feel the road under my feet and freedom. That's what kids do…they test their boundaries and carve out a niche they can call their own. Kids often think “parents are like God because you wanna know they're out there, and you want them to think well of you, but you really only call when you need something.” ― Chuck Palahniuk that's why I tell my kids the stories about my teenage years…so that they don't drive across states to feel the sand in their toes; or seldom come home to visit because they are having too much fun; or living a crazy independent life (while your parents are still paying for everything of course). I tell them because that shits dangerous. And all of this was done without a cell phone (gasp). My girlfriend Laurel reminded me of a drive home from San Diego when I was riding solo and I got a flat tire…and cried…somewhere in the middle of Juniper Springs….all alone. I had forgotten all about that day. I had no cell phone or GPS or emergency car service to locate me…I had to figure it out…BY READING THE OPERATOR'S MANUAL…and change a tire!!!!! If my kids told me this story and it had been them instead of me I would literally DIE! It would be followed with "you are never doing that again" and a long lecture on going anywhere that far alone! But I survived. Regardless, It was endless pursuit of 'finding my self'….my life without a chaperone. Howeverrrrrrrr, I am witnessing a change in this new generation, at least within my own home. They like me...they really like me! They want to do lunch and take 21st bday trips together…and have friends over (even when they have their own apartments)…and workout together…and I am not just talking about my own kids…their friends often want to hang out with me even when my kids aren't around. Ashley had a good friend come over last night. He is in town from UofA. All the college kids are back now. Everyone got so big (as my grandma used to say, "or am I just shrinking" insert monkey covering eyes emoji). So this kid says, "Ash, I wanted to come over to hang out with Parker and your mom". AND YOUR MOM. MOM. See what I mean? They WANT to be around adults these days…what happened to our youth? Or is it the parents that have changed? What came first the chicken or the egg? I joke to my kids (and sometimes say it when I'm mad) "Why are you here? You have your own places now?". Truth is I wouldn't have it any other way. Ya being awoken at 2 am to disco music blaring on the patio can get a little much, but I know where they are…they are right outside my door… right where I could see and touch them if I want/have to. They aren't on some distant highway changing a flat tire…. and I watch them grow up and their friends grow up… and I like what I see…and we talk about dumb teenager stuff and we talk about politics…and we make ramen and we make steak on the grill..and we listen to gangster rap and classic country…ying and yang…teenagers crossing over into my little adult world... and they like it there. So when I wake up and throw a blanket over the extra bodies that have crashed on my couch…clean up a kitchen of pizza and ice cream… turn off TVs and radios that have entertained the neighbors throughout the night, I can't help but feel how truly lucky I am…I know where they are…I know who they are with….and they wouldn't have it any other way. And I let them think they are living life without a chaperone as I quietly watch from the sidelines.

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