Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Can't Love 'em Smart

Not So Sharp Permanent Marker Dull Point

I recently heard somewhere the following line which sums up my current realizations about parenting, “Well, you can’t love ‘em smart.” Teenagers have a way of proving that sentiment to be true every day. On Halloween, First Born Son came downstairs to greet my family who was over for dinner and a photo opportunity with the costumed little ones. He had borrowed a "costume" idea from a Halloween episode of The Office where John Krasinski's character, Jim, had written the word “BOOK” across his face to represent Facebook. My family was unfamiliar with the show; so, they swooned over how clever he was. But, my killjoy mom senses were tingling when I examined his face.

“What did you use to write with?”

“Uh, a Sharpie,” he answered without hesitation.

“Was it permanent?”

“Yeah, why?” Duh!

It was still fresh. He still had a window to wipe it off.  For a split second, I entertained the idea of letting him keep it on. The purple Sharpie scrawl would probably remain there for a week, considering his hygiene habits, before it started to fade away. He’d have to face his classmates, his principal and instructors, and his fellow passengers on the subway every day with that mark of stupidity on his face.

As a parent, you think about your children’s future, about the years when they will be further out of your grasp, about the possibility of them getting drunk and falling asleep at a frat party and waking up with a Hitler mustache Sharpied to their upper lips. You don’t worry about them doing this to themselves, sober.  I wasn’t trying to be sadistic when I decided to make him march up to the bathroom to scrub it off. But, the poor kid came back downstairs-face raw, red and broken out- begging for some salve. He looked abused which is worse than looking like a moron. My mother chastised me for my suggestion that he was (a moron). “He is a teenager,” she corrected. Right now, in this house, those two words are synonymous.

It could have been much worse, I know. He could have written “Shit” across his face. With each teenager-ish prank or fumble, I have to just keep saying, If this is his worst offense, I’ll gladly take it.  And, he really is a good kid. But, no, you can’t love ‘em smart.


  1. Yeah but teenagers are fabulous for entertainment purposes.

  2. Hahaha. Totally agree with Mustang Sally. :-)

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