When I was working on my 400th post on this little slice of my world, I thought that I would extend an OPEN invite to my friends and readers. The invite was to give me ANY topic and I would write about it in my next 4 blogs. I was expecting some outlandish requests but honestly, they were pretty tame. I really expected more out of you people, but I’m not disappointed ;).
The first post goes out to from Doris Grant – or Mrs. Grant as she’s known to me. Yes, I’m 43 years old and I still can’t bring myself to call her Doris. Mrs. Grant’s prompt was:
What you learned from your teenage years that will help you as you go thru the teenage years with your girls!
This one’s easy for me because Mrs. Grant taught me a lot in my teenage years, whether she realizes it or not.
The four of us met in the 6th grade. There was me, Cathy, Laura and Missy – Mrs. Grant’s daughter. We were inseparable for all of our middle school days and a decent piece of our high school days. We did what all 13 year olds do – endless sleepovers that usually involved us planning our weddings to our respective men of our boy band (Duran Duran). We just knew they were going to magically find us in NC all the way from London and instantly fall in love with each of us. At the same time. Most of these sleepovers happened at the Grants house because it was the kool-aid house. They had 3 kids so it was loud, toys everywhere and in constant motion (very similar to my house now). Their house was the complete opposite of my childhood home.
My friends were never comfortable at my house because it was pretty much a sterile environment. My room showed no signs that anyone lived there, much less a teenaged girl. No posters, very few knickknacks and if it weren’t for the record player and tv you would have thought it was a guest room. I was always jealous of Missy’s room. It was covered floor to ceiling in posters. Duran Duran. Bon Jovi. Flock of Seagulls. Madonna. It was teenage perfection and the kind of room that I could never have. The one poster that I managed to sneak in and carefully tape to the back of my door was quickly discovered and removed. I swore to myself that if I ever had kids, they would be allowed to decorate their rooms just like Missy’s. However, if they wanted to have national park posters instead, that would also be fine.
Mrs. Grant was always around and always a willing participant in our crazy notions. She was the one who took us to camp out for concert tickets (remember when you could actually get awesome tickets for the price of sleeping in a parking lot?), tolerate our amazing vocals and dreams of having a band and always had just the right insight to all of our worldly problems. She knew that it was much easier to keep tabs on what was going on in our lives if we were right under her nose but it never felt that way. She had the most amazing accent – she was a Bostonian in the world of Southern accents and I loved to hear her talk. (Now that I think about it, I wonder if my infatuation with Boston started with her.) She talked a mile a minute, laughed loud and often and you couldn’t help but be happy around her. Paired with the VERY Southern Mr. Grant and it was a regular comedy show.
So to answer your question Mrs. Grant, here’s what I learned from YOU in my teenage years that I try to use today with mine:
- Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It’s fine to have the kids over that you love but it’s just as important to have the ones over that might be trouble – just to keep an eye on them.
- The most comfortable house to be in isn’t always the biggest or most expensive. You can have all the antiques and imports in the world but if your kids can’t get comfortable, they’re not going to stick around. And if they don’t stick around, you can’t figure out what’s going on.
- It’s a phase – they’ll grow out of it. The more you push it away, the longer it’s going to stick around.
- Life happens to everyone. If you waste today’s energy stressing about tomorrow, then you’ve lost two perfectly good days.
- Holes in the wall can be patched. Let your kids surround themselves with things that make them happy.
- No matter how many times you go to the grocery store, 3 kids and their friends are going to eat you out of house and home. Get used to it.
- There’s going to come a day when your kids don’t think you’re that funny. Enjoy it while it lasts.
- There’s going to come a day when your kids don’t want you to do things with them. No matter how painful it seems at the time, go do it with them. You’ll all be better for it.
- It’s the most random things that creates memories.
- No matter how old you get, there will always be that one family that you remember forever.
30 years later, I’d like to thank the Grants for being that family to me.