Before I Forget – Notes to My Teen
By Marsha McGregor
“Before I Forget – Notes to My Teen” is a monthly column of wisdoms for our teens.
When To Pretend You Are Fine and When Not To
There is room for both in your life.
If you have done some excruciating, embarrassing thing, by all means cringe invisibly. Breathe through your blushing. Act natural.
If you are being bullied or mocked, give your predators no pleasure and hold your head high.
If you are on a nerve-wracking job interview, of course you are fine. Just look at you, all collected and mature, no fidgeting or twisting of hair.
If you’ve been rejected by a casual acquaintance, if someone doesn’t text you back, you can respond if you feel so called. It’s OK to pretend you are fine.
But if your heart is breaking, if you hold some terrible secret, if you are scared or sad or worried or lost, never pretend you are fine, especially with the people you love. Unlock yourself. Let yourself be reached. Someone is waiting to help you.
Voices From the Kitchen
When I come downstairs in the morning and you have fallen asleep on the couch the night before, I try not to clang the plates from the dishwasher as I empty it. Your father and I sit at the kitchen table with our coffee, exchanging bits of married-people conversation, moving seamlessly from how much cat food we have left in the pantry to something outrageous happening in Washington to wondering aloud if the Cavaliers play tonight. Between the bits of talk there are stitches of silence. He stands up to open the back door and yells loudly at the squirrel hanging on the bird feeder. Those squirrels are costing us a fortune this winter. They always do, and he always yells out the door at them.
I wonder then if you are still sleeping deeply, or if you are drifting in and out. Or if you are briefly awakened and grimacing in annoyance at your dad yelling at the squirrel, but smiling a little, too. I wonder if you smell the steaming coffee and hear the morning voices in the gray light and know that this is happiness.
Marsha McGregor is a contributing writer for Brain Teen, our print magazine for parents of teens.