An Open Letter to My Teen Daughter Who Is In The Next Room
By Margarita Gokun Silver
My dear girl,
Before I delve into serious topics and lose your attention to Instagram, several things:
- You left the lights on in the bathroom
- Your shoes are in the middle of the hallway and I tripped over them twice already
- You left the lights on in the kitchen
- There is a collection of candy wrappers, dirty tissues, and remnants of popcorn in the living room
- You left the lights on in the den
Please attend to the above before I am forced to walk into your room and attempt to confiscate your electronic devices. We both know this doesn’t usually end well.
Now on to more important issues.
When it comes to household chores, asking you to unload a dishwasher or walk the dog isn’t the same as making a Cinderella out of you. Plenty of people get out of bed before noon to take out their dogs so your claim that a noon wake up call qualifies as a violation of basic human rights is completely unsubstantiated. And while we are on the subject of rights, let me assure you that allowance is not a human right. Neither is it your indisputable right.
Moving on. There is a reason they call it “private property.” You cannot appropriate your father’s telephone charger because you’ve lost yours. Similarly, you cannot grab our cell phones whenever you want to take a selfie. Perhaps next time when you fix your phone again you can keep it intact for longer than just two weeks.
This may come as a surprise but the rule of respecting other people’s property also extends to my wardrobe. Borrowing my bras, shoes, and clothes without prior permission is not okay. Your argument that you have nothing to wear doesn’t stand up to the realities of your closet, which is so cram-full of clothes that it can easily conceal a bazooka, a taxidermied bear, and a full set of Encyclopedia Britannica.
I know we’ve spoken about this next issue in the past but it needs repeating. WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram don’t constitute research venues for a science project. Or for a language paper. Or for a math exam. Similarly, your claim that both Saturday and Sunday should be reserved for maintaining a focused gaze on your electronic devices doesn’t have any basis. People have been known to go outside during weekends.
This brings me to the subject of holidays. Despite what you may think we aren’t out to ruin your vacation when we book a family trip to see Prague, Vienna, and South Bavarian castles. And we are definitely not trying to take all fun out of your life when we take you to explore Catalunia or Cantabria or Asturias during a long weekend. Just think of all the Snapchats you can take and share.
Finally, your father and I really don’t appreciate being called stupid idiots when we happen to disagree with you. Neither slamming of the doors nor screaming loud enough for the neighbors’ dog to bark seem appropriate. You may want to save your voice for all those renditions of Adele we hear regularly from your shower.
To conclude, I’d like to ask if I could apply for a position of your friend. I’ve noticed you treat your friends much better than your parents. So will you be my friend?
Margarita Gokun Silver is a writer and an artist. You can see more of her writing on her website at www.margaritagokunsilver.com. She tweets at www.twitter.com/MGokunSilver.