Friday, January 30, 2015

The Cross Section of Bar Mitzvahs and Brothels...

Lately I've had a really hard time figuring out exactly what my role is as a father.

When my kids were really young, my job as a parent was fairly straight forward.

Don't let them die.

"Hey honey. I'm taking the girls to the park for awhile."

Don't let them die.

"Hey babe. I'm taking the girls for manicures."

Don't let them die.

"Hey sweet heart. I'm taking the girls for a slice of pizza."

Don't let them die.

You get the picture.

Now that my girls are older, things seem more complex. Particularly with my oldest. She is 12 and this is her first year of middle school.

Middle school is hard. Really hard. I know because I went through it. 

We all did.

There are more kids, which means more personalities. There is more work, which means more pressure to succeed and there are more choices to be made. 

Choices about drugs and alcohol.

Choices about sex.

Choices about good people and bad people.

It has to be scary for her because it sure as hell was scary for me.

The PTA tells us that kids in middle school are putting alcohol soaked tampons in their collective orifices to mask their inebriation.

First of all, that's genius but what happened to screwdrivers in the A&P parking lot? 

They also tell us that bathrooms at Bar and Bat-Mitvahs are like pubescent brothels.

Doesn't anybody play Pepsi Cola - 7up anymore?

And where in God's name does the PTA gather their intelligence from? 

In the end, these are choices that only she can make.

With or without my help.

In middle school, I remember trying to fit in. I remember the unbearable yearning to be liked.

To be accepted.

Am I funny enough? Is my house big enough? Shit, why don't I have cable yet?

I was terrified of girls. I was terrified of rejection. I was terrified of rejection by girls.

I often felt less than.

But kids survive. They are a resilient lot.

As a father, I'd like to think that I have given her the tools to make the right choices.

I can empathize but I can't project into the wreckage of her future.

She is not me.

I am not her.

My choices (some good and some bad) have made me the man that I am today.

Her choices will be the cement that forms the foundation on which her character will be built.

She will navigate the alcohol soaked tampons and the Bar and Bat-Mitzvah brothels and she will survive.

My baby girl is out there.

She is out there with her ball peen hammer and her needle nose pliers.

All I can do is assure her that I'll always be standing by to lend her my allen wrench when and if she needs it...