My daughter thinks I'm cool.
I know, I know, she's 15, and I should be doing my best to alienate her, but I just can't, because I promised myself in 1976 that I'd always remember what it was like to be 15, and I have. I made promises about how I would parent, and adjusting for reality and the fact that there STILL isn't a flying car, I've kept them. When I held that little 9 pound 14 ounce dollop of pink in my arms for the first time, I knew I had to make sure we'd always be the best of friends even as I guided her to adulthood. Besides the usual guidelines of the teen years, my hard and fast rules have remained:
1. You can have pierced ears. You will pierce each one once, and that's all you're piercing. What you dangle from them is your business.
2. You may tattoo nothing. Never make permanent decisions that may not fit your life later.
3. Your hair, accessories, and clothes are open for discussion. Your personal style is a personal choice. To prove this, I have purchased Tripp pants covered in chains, arm warmers with skulls, army boots, military style hats, crazy over the knee socks, and numerous T-shirts that you love- all without you being there. You can cut your hair punk, and I'll supply the spray on dye. You are you, you're an amazingly good child, and I love you, no matter what you wear. Plus I think the Tripps are cool. I just can't rock that look at 49.
4. We will share music. I want to hear what you like. I want to know what you like about it. Yes, Adam Lambert is pretty cool. Yep, Breaking Benjamin is my ringtone. But I want you to know what I listened to when I was your age. And come on, Styx has stood the test of time, right?
5. Your room is your haven, and it's decoration is your decision.
6. I expect good grades because you're brilliant. I will reward you when you achieve them. We'll discuss it when you don't. But primarily, I want you to expect good grades of yourself.
7. I do need to meet your friends. This isn't such a big deal since you make good choices and I like all of them.
8. Let's do things together. Let's have shared interests. I like being with you and teaching you things. And sometimes, you have really cool insights into things I've been doing the same way for years.
9. I will support your dreams. If you want to be an actress, then you have my full backing. A photographer? Do it. I will not tell you that you need a safe back up plan. There's tons of time in life to become an accountant. I started my present career at 40. For now, grab those stars.
10. I will be honest about my past and my life. I'll admit that I made some bad choices. I'm not perfect. Learn from my mistakes, avoid them yourself, and remember, a mistake is a lesson. Regret nothing. Keep dancing.
Now get your animal skull earrings off the coffee table before one of the cats eats them.