Mom, I’m Sorry: True Stories from My Wonder Years
Growing up the eldest of three kids, I certainly bore the brunt of my parents’ strictness. First of all, I am female. Secondly, we moved to the U.S. during my adolescent years, so my parents were doubly strict: because a) I’m a girl and b) I’m a girl growing up in this whole new environment. I matured with a quickness since I had to help out with our new life here. This meant that I couldn’t go get pizza with my friends after school, but I could take public transportation by myself to pick up my little brother from the babysitter. This meant that I could not go the mall with my friends without one of my parents with me, but I could go the laundromat by myself and do the laundry for the family. So of course, growing up, I had to rebel in my own “still-obedient-to-my-parents-way” with a side of up yours!
- When I was 12, I *trimmed* my little brother Eric’s eyelashes. He was 4 years old at the time. It was in part because I was sick of having to take care of him all the time, and partly because I was jealous that his eyelashes were way prettier than mine (and they still are, dammit!). They are thicker and curlier than ever. Serves me right.
- When I was 13 and in the 7th grade, I ditched school for a day through an elaborate plan of mine, just so I could spend the day with this guy who was not quite my boyfriend, but someone who I really liked at the time (but of course, turned out to be a loser). Yes, I got caught after the fact and my mom did not speak to me for several months. She didn’t even let me go to school for a week. (Later that year, I finally did meet a boy worthy of becoming my boyfriend.)
- When I was 15, I started my “Goth” phase and wore black all the time and listened mostly to “Gothic” music. (Aside: “Gothic” is in parentheses because the music I listened to shouldn’t really be confined to that one genre!) I dyed my hair every color of the rainbow and constantly got detention at my private school for breaking the dress code. I was sullen, mostly “depressed” because I couldn’t spend time with the boyfriend (or other friends for that matter), and loathed my parents for their strictness. Oddly enough though, my parents did like this boy and knew how much he meant to me (even though they were in denial about the relationship). A couple of years ago, my mom even asked how he was.
- When I was 16, I pretended that I had school (even though we were off for a special teacher’s meeting day) and instead, spend the whole day with the boyfriend roaming the streets of Los Angeles. What a great day that was.
- When I was 19 and in college, I started to “experiment.” I started to smoke cigarettes, drink a lot, and experiment with let’s say… some “organic” products. Funny enough, I was quite a late bloomer in comparison to my peers. Heck, I got buzzed off one Midori sour the first night I tried my hand at social drinking! Two years later, my mom found out about the cigarette-smoking when she caught me smoking a butt out in our backyard. So much for the breathmints and air freshener technique! But then she couldn’t get that mad since she was a smoker herself for several years before quitting, and I only smoked for a couple of years and quit.
- When I was 20, I went away for a holiday with my then-boyfriend (let’s call him ‘The Loser’) and told my mom I went with some girlfriends instead.
- When I was 22, I went away for a holiday with my then-husband-to-be and told my mom I went with a group of girlfriends.
As you can see, most of my shenanigans involved boys (but just to clarify, I only had 3 boyfriends in my life (the third is now my hubs). My mom doesn’t see “dating” as a proper thing for people to do (but if it involves people other than her own children, she’s so quick to be a matchmaker).
Of course in retrospect, I know it was wrong to lie to my parents. Now, my mom and I are close in our own way. It took us a while to get to where we are now, but at this point, yes I can finally turn to her and confide things regarding love and relationships. It started when I realized she needed to know how I felt about my then hubs-to-be. Now, we’re a little more open with each other. Growing up though, it was very hard.
I can only hope that I can be a kind of mother than my children can confide things to –even when it’s a touchy subject. My mom and dad did an excellent job in raising me. I know I am morally responsible because of them, and I can only hope to instill good morals in my children as they have done. I know they were strict because they wanted to protect me and I understand that. To a certain extent though, kids will one way or another get into a little bit of 'trouble' --it's a part of growing up and that is something all parents will experience.
Sorry for all the shenanigans mom! I swear, I won’t do it again!