Thelma and Louise become parents!

A few weeks ago I spent the weekend with my friends from high school. BS (yes, his initials...) reminded us of an incident that I had forgotten on a ski trip. The chaperone came to check the boys' room and we (girls) had to hide quickly... I didn't believe him. But yesterday when I accidentally found my high school diaries, I decided to do some "research" into his story. It was worse than B's claim!  I was so embarrassed, that after reading a few sentences I couldn't bring myself to finish the entire entry and put the diary back where I found it! (Sorry, folks, no more info than that, it's not that kind of blog!). A skeleton jumped out the my closet and cried "BOO!"

None of my Bridgewater friends have told me stories like these from their teen years. Most appear to have had a couple of nice boyfriends before entering relationships that turned into longer marriages. None of my friends in Bridgewater were sound like they were bad girls in high school.  By contrast, my experiences were those of an academic goodie-goodie, who spent her weekends being reckless.
We all are concerned about our teenagers' decisions. I wonder, could having made such colossally bad decisions in my own youth make me a better parent than my "goodie goodie neighbors" who have had a lifetime of straight paths and good choices?

I've done it all - and my kids should know: they can't sneak out of the house. The old trick of replacing liquor with water, one shot at a time - also on my checklist.  Apparently I was a great liar too. When I was 14, I convinced my friend's Mom to leave us at a party with senior boys. Why did I talk to her instead of her daughter? Because her daughter was hiding upstairs, too drunk to go home. What excuse could I have possibly come up to get Mrs. Mom to leave? Dunno, but I will always second guess strange stories from my kids' friends! I can sense cigarette or pot smoke from a mile away and chapped lips... are a tell-tale sign of too much kissing. But I know when I was being most destructive, I was also at the lowest point of my life. Feeling like no one loved me besides my Dad and my friend BP. Perhaps that is the clue: make sure my kids know I love them. Always.

My diaries are probably a great read, if I could bring myself to do it. A venerable "WHAT NOT TO DO". Talking over stories with MC yesterday, I felt ashamed. We were both scratching our heads. How did we both end up so stable (married with kids, degrees and mortgages)? Did our mistakes lead us on the straight and narrow trajectory toward suburbia, or was it luck? What changed? Some of my bad choices probably came out of my situation. I've blogged about losing Dino when I was 15 several times. Had I not lost my brother, would I have made better decisions throughout high school? Would I have had as much fun?

Maybe it came down to parenting? My mom knew a lot of what we were up to.  When one of my friends was kicked out of her house (for heavy drugs, no less) Mom welcomed her into our home. If one of C's friends needed a bedroom and a mother after doing something that awful, I'd like to think I'd follow in my Mom's example but would I be as compassionate for my own daughter or son? If not, who could they turn to that would understand?

I hope my kids will make better decisions, because their friends are good kids. Was EM's bad influence the real source of blame? Or is getting drunk and hanging with members of the opposite sex simply part of growing up, and I'm naive to think my kids will avoid it? Maybe I am stupid to think the "nice moms" I know in Bridgewater just don't admitting to their past lives' secrets?

And maybe, in this uber-protective enclave where people have no problem telling me that I shouldn't trust my kids to walk down our street, letting them make mistakes, as my Mom let me, is the best thing I can do as a parent? Her example demonstrates that life is complicated for both parents and kids. Everyone will make some bad decisions! I just have to forgive myself for things I did over 25 years ago, and enjoy a good (albeit possibly rated R) book.

As Don Henley says, "It (a song) took about 42 years to write... and about 4 minutes to sing." That's exactly how I feel about Summer 1985-Summer 1986...


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