Oh, you want privacy?

You want me to butt out of your business and leave you alone?  And also you want me to stop reading your texts and quit rummaging through your pockets?  And furthermore you’d appreciate it if I wouldn’t ask you so many questions about what you’re planning and with whom you’re going?

Gosh.  I wish I could.  No, really, I wish I could.  My life would be a lot less harried and worrisome if I wasn’t on a constant trajectory of redirecting and intercepting you kids towards the good choices and away from the bad ones.  Parenting you takes away from me having a life of my own.  It’s actually very exhausting to ask all these questions, to do extensive background checking and to re-ask the same questions in different ways.  Staying one step ahead of hormonally driven, single-track minded teens in the information age is #736 on the list of Things I Like To Do On Friday Nights.  It comes in on the list just after waxing the hair off the back of my thighs and just before chewing on tin foil.

And besides, if you would simply stop leaving dollars in your pockets, I would stop checking them.  But you don’t, so in addition to removing those stubborn stains, I make a modest income doing laundry.  And also I sometimes find random notes in your pockets, often darling but occasionally wildly inappropriate, that just seem to unfold and press themselves against my eyeballs.  What I’m saying is, if you’re really concerned about me not reading your secret notes, you might consider checking your own darn pockets before flinging your bundles of smelly clothing in front of the washing machine.  And also if you’re going to draw those body parts on notes, at least draw them anatomically correct; there are only two of them and they don’t have teeth.

So you don’t think I have the right to read your texts?  That’s adorable!  And debatable.  Do I have the right to choose whether or not I pay your phone bill?  Because we could work something out I’m sure.  You seem to have some sweet babysitting skills and the possibility of a wild income earning potential exists.  What?  You want to buy makeup, new mountain bike components or iTunes with your money?  I guess I don’t blame you.  I suppose I could keep paying your phone bill.

I suppose I will also continue reading your texts.

I’m not playing the martyr here because I’m fairly certain I knew what I was doing when I made you, well, that’s also debatable, but considering I left home with a relatively useful life skill set and a head full of knowledge, I’m quite sure I knew what I was doing when I made you.  Whether or not I was ready for you, I knew what to do.  That’s the remarkable thing about motherhood; you know what to do, even when you’re not sure if you know what to do.  I love you and I’m up for the job(s) of dependable taxi service, medical transport, personal grocery shopper, party planner, chef extraordinaire (don’t roll your eyes at me when it’s leftover night again – my nails aren’t dry yet), therapist, head cheerleader and general CEO of daily operations.

I’m your mother and I love you.

And I will also check your phone.

Especially as I’m groggily waiting for that first cup of coffee to brew and randomly open your phone at 6:10am to read this overnight gem:  “dude im havin a party next wknd, some girls are tentin out, just tell ur mom boys and girls will be seprate”.

No need for creamer in this morning’s cup of coffee.  Straight up is fine.  In fact, I’m going to just stick my head under this here brew spout and hope the boiling water calms me down as it burns off the first two layers of my esophagus.

Hi. Hello.  It’s me again, your mother.  Now I know you think I’ve been in my 30’s my entire life because that’s the extent of your experience.  Sure, you’ve seen my delectably dimpled baby pictures and faded grammar school pictures of cute little me in homemade jumpers and homemade bowl haircuts, and while we’re on the subject, please don’t ever complain again about me buying your clothing off the JCPenney sale rack because if I could sew, I would sew you a jumper just to know the wicked joy my mother felt; she knew what she was doing.  But if you can look beyond the awesomely giant-haired high school pictures and stop laughing with horrified delight at my bright orange MC Hammer pants for just five minutes, please, stop laughing, you would know that I was also aged 13 to 18 once.  I was in fact a teenager and I distinctly remember the grey matter occasionally oozing out of my ears because being a teenager is sometimes like having a bowl of cold oatmeal for a brain.  However, for whatever strange reasons, we reward your oatmeal brain by giving you a driver’s permit and allow you to practice driving your Dad to pick up your little brother from karate lessons, except all you can think about is having sex in your parent’s car and also you’re hungry.

Back to that delightful text I read early this morning.  I’m pretty sure keeping 15 year old boys (who will undoubtedly be playing cards in their tents) separate from 15 year old girls (who will simply be giggling and painting their toenails in their tents) will totally work!  And also I’m pretty sure that’s just Mountain Dew in your red solo cup.  You kids keep the music down and sleep tight!

I will read your texts and I will be your mother.  And you’re not going to that party.  We’re having family movie night that night anyway; I’m letting your little brother pick out the movie.  Don’t roll your eyes at me.  We’re one big happy family and we’re going to act like it, damnit!

I know you hate the way I invade your private world of newly discovered connections and exchanges of deeply profound information that nobody has ever thought of before ever in the history of world.  I also know I’m a pain in your ass.  The feeling is often mutual, but I love you.  And when I feel I should, I will check your phone, your pockets, your Facebook (although I’m not sure what game invitation I clicked on but it was almost 2AM before I could peel my eyes off Bubble Witch Saga; I can totally see why you play that fun game) and I will ask you questions, several times and I will also try to trick you by re-wording the question using different verbs.  It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s just that even though you’re a smart, brilliant and levelheaded shining star destined to change this world, you are still a teenager with a head full of cold oatmeal.

PS I didn’t have a cell phone when I was your age but once, I found my mother playing  C+C Music Factory on my Sony Walkman backwards to see if I was worshiping the devil like she suspected.

I could be worse.

Renée Chalou-Ennis

About Renée Chalou-Ennis

Renée Chalou-Ennis lives in Presque Isle with her husband Jason and their three children, ages 17, 15 and 8. She owns a wellness center and instructs fitness classes part-time. Amidst battling the breeding laundry pile and negotiating the hormonally-fueled spectacles that accompany raising two teenagers, she enjoys helping motivate people to reach their fitness goals. She’s learned not to take herself entirely too seriously and tries to inject as much humor into life, work, play and parenting as possible, much to the teenagers’ chagrin. She’s fairly certain they’ll grow to like her someday. From the challenge of blending a family, part-time home schooling her children, having a severely asthmatic child, raising teenagers, life in rural Maine or losing 30 lbs to transform herself from sedentary sideline mother to competitive athlete mother, Renée writes about a life worth living well, even when it's so funny you want to cry.