I have finally come to the realization that I am my parents, not in every way, but in the way that the parent of teenagers suddenly realizes there’s a lot we just don’t get.
In the 1980s, my dad did not get my desire to double pierce my ears or wear earrings that resembled little airplanes. He did not care for my black eyeliner or acid-washed jeans with holes in them. My mom didn’t like my red Led Zeppelin tapestry or my Jim Morrison poster hanging in my pink and green flowered bedroom.
So, I am officially my parents. There are so many things I don’t understand about my teenagers — their endless makeup routines, their expensive ripped jeans, their desire for more ear piercings than they have lobe space and their music, which seems to always be laced with words that make me cringe. ... Sound familiar?
This really hit home for me this week when I attended a concert with my 14-year-old and her friend. The majority of the concert involved two young men danced around, pretending to be DJs on a raised DJ booth in the middle of the large stage with lots of special effects all around them, including video screens and pyrotechnics.
A few times, one of the men would hold a mic or a guitar for a few minutes and talk or sing a little. But, for the most part, it was like being in a gigantic nightclub — one where the bass was so heavy I could literally feel the rhythm in the depths of my organs.
My daughter and her friend never stopped dancing, hands in the air, hair flying, singing along to the recorded music that was played at an ear-splitting decibel. It was in that moment that I realized I had arrived at the “I don’t get it” phase of parenting.
Later that night, I saw a text exchange between my husband and daughter where he asked her if she was having fun. She responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes!!!!!” Then he asked her: “Is mom having fun?” She responded: “Idk.” (I don’t know)
The honest answer was no. But then I thought about it a little more and realized that my “fun” was not the issue. My daughter and her friend had a blast. That was the important thing. I don’t get it — and guess what, I don’t need to.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books, including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.