There's a specific moment in life when you realize that your parents are lame, and then, ten seconds later, declare that you will never fall into that trap. No, when you grow up, you shall be the cool parent, succeeding where billions before you had failed! They just didn't try hard enough! Only now, with a teenager of my own, do I realize that she needs me to be an embarrassing, cringeworthy, uncool mess of an adult. This is because ...
They Love Having You As Their "Wingman" ... Until They Abruptly Start Hating It
The other day, my badass daughter and I were standing talking on the sidewalk when she saw a group of friends approaching, so she body-slammed me into the nearest bushes. The shame of being seen in public with her mother of all people would have ruined her, like if Taylor Swift's mom interrupted a concert to bring her the butt ointment she'd left at the hotel. Just a year ago, she loved it whenever I coordinated with another parent (i.e. a friend of MINE) to get together, do something badass, and bring our kids. Then, one day, a switch was flipped.
The last time I threw a party and one of her best friends showed up with her parents, they both rolled their eyes at me in frustrated embarrassment and told me off for setting up a "play date." Dudes, you live an hour's drive apart. How else are you going to get together if your parents don't set it up? Somebody's got to drive!
So now, in order to provide at least the illusion that my daughter is constructing her own social life, I have to play a complex game. "By the way, Josie's parents and siblings are coming over on Saturday. You might want to text and ask Josie if she wants to come too?" Or "Hey, I'm going to the movies with Bob later tonight. I don't know if he's bringing his son. In fact, I don't even know he has a son, let alone one who's been blowing up your phone."