“What do you mean, you refuse?!?” Kate had never seen her mother quite this flustered. It would have been funny- had the origin of this frustration been honed in on anyone else.
Emilie pinched the bridge of her nose and silently counted to ten before staring intently at her daughter. “They should have a warranty for teenagers,” she thought to herself, “…cause I think mine is experiencing some kind of malfunction”. Emilie and Kate’s relationship had experienced some strain as of late, as many mothers and teenage daughters do, but this last ‘outburst’ of Kate’s was too much.
“Mom, you just don’t get it! You’re stifling me!” Kate retorted in that whiny/ haughty tone she had somehow woken up with on her fourteenth birthday.
“Is it wrong to want to smack your child just to change the tone of her voice?” Emilie wondered a little crazed before sweeping the thought from her mind. She needed to focus. A war of wills with a sixteen-year-old girl, daughter or no, was no place to get distracted. Emilie would need all her wits about her for this one. “Damn, I’m tired,” she thought before placing her hands on her hips and drawing herself to full height as she readied for the inevitable standoff.
“Ok, Kate,” she said in her calmest I’m-in-control-not-you voice, “…since you didn’t feel it was important to do your homework all this week, please enlighten me,” (easy Emilie, you’re borderline patronizing, rein it back ‘ol gal, rein it back…), “what did you do instead?”
“I did what I wanted, ok? For once in my life, I would just like to do whatever I wanted, with no deadlines, no one pushing me into something I don’t really care about, no stupid obligations or constricting responsibilities. So, I’m sooo sorry for spending a whole week on something I thought was important… something that I enjoy and find meaning in,” Kate said with so much teenaged angst Emilie had to bite her lip to keep from smiling.
Kate threw herself into the back of the couch and pulled the hood of her green hoodie over her head, Emilie assumed to shield any rouge tears from her mother’s view. Emilie let her pout for a little while, after a performance like that; the girl deserved at least that much. And, truth be told, she was a good kid, true she had a mouth on her, but still, Emilie was proud of the woman she was becoming. So, she made a decision, whatever Kate had decided to do instead of her homework that week, she wouldn’t mock it, she wouldn’t belittle it or chastise her for wasting time. Who knows? Maybe she found a new hobby or was honing a new skill that could potentially develop into a career or passion?
Wiping the back of her sleeve across her face in a covert attempt to clear her tears away, Kate finally looked over at her mother, who was examining her nails, indifferently. “You really want to know?” Kate asked quietly. Looking up, Emilie nodded. “I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. I would sit outside or lie on my bed and stare at the ceiling and just let my mind wander. I came up with silly sayings, I thought of unusual lyrics to old songs, I concocted new endings to fairytales and Disney movies. I did nothing, and it was wonderful,” Kate said, the rare teenaged smile appearing briefly on her face.
“Nothing, eh?” Emilie said thoughtfully. “Sounds… delightful.”
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: When I got home today, I felt like rewarding myself. I worked hard for eight hours, I walked again on my lunch break (Day Two, baby!) and after my God-awful commute home I thought a treat was in order. So what could I do to pat myself on the back? I know! Nothing. I want to do N.O.T.H.I.N.G. and no that doesn’t stand for anything, I just felt like writing it like that. So that is what I did… kinda. After whipping up a meal-for-one of spaghetti and meatballs (Andy had class tonight) I sat my tush down and… watched NCIS as I surfed Pinterest. Ahh…. That’s the stuff. And I gotta tell you, it took every ounce of control to say goodbye to Agent Gibbs and the gang and sit down to write tonight… you’re welcome.
Love & Squirrels.