Saturday, May 13, 2017

Parenting By Text

Every so often I get to have fun with my daughter, Julia, who is both earnest and a wiseass. This reflects her mother’s and my personalities, the best and worst of both I like to think.

Friday, she texted about an issue with her chemistry teacher. Julia spent the last eight weeks prepping for the AP World exam. She sat for it Thursday after an especially intense two weeks of final review.

The chemistry teacher wanted her to take an exam right away. Julia wanted instead to get back to swim practice, something she has missed a lot.

The texts began reasonably between the three of us. My wife and I were both teaching as these texts came in. I’m the white bubbles on the right.
Julia is concerned about her grades and doing what’s right. She’s more conscientious than I was at her age. Hell, she’s more conscientious than I am now.

She struggles to make decisions and believe in her powers. I struggle with wanting to make decisions for her. During these texts I typed but deleted “I can contact her, if you need me to.”

Julia, a sophomore, doesn’t need us doing this stuff for her. She knows her teachers better than her mother or I do. We’re pretty involved (well, my wife is involved; I’m nearby), but Julia can handles these things. We don’t do her any good solving these things.

Throughout this, I’m giving her a push, but letting it be her thing. Her last text lets me know she’s smiling. She’s fine.
So it’s time to have fun. Stephanie is still being a good parent. I’ve gone to another place.

Julia, used to me by now, is equally chagrined and comforted by my nonsense. Part of me is curious to have her throw a chair. It’s the least “Julia” behavior and I wonder if I’d be horrified or laugh uncontrollably. Probably both.

I deleted texts that might have gotten her arrested or on the NSA watch-list. There’s a thin line between humor and stupidity that I cross over all the time. Stephanie, however, gets in on the action. I welcome her to the dark side.

Julia doesn’t respond. She shows her friends how useless her parents are. One friend is getting reasonable parenting that doesn’t involve getting a teacher drunk.

To each their own.
Julia talks to her teacher, then texts to pick her up as usual. (Fridays I get her at 2:30 and bring her back to swim.)

Problem solved without our help. I add a last wiseass text to remind her how mature I am.

By the way, we like her chemistry teacher and don’t want chairs or obscenities hurled her way. As for drinking, I’ll buy the first few rounds. It’s the least I can do.