Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Do It, Kid

For the most part, adulthood sucks.

This is what I keep telling my daughter. She, age 13, disagrees with her mother. Oddly enough.

To her, grown-ups live in a land of pocket money, complete freedom and unlimited cell phone minutes. A happy place where shiny new gadgets magically and regularly appear for no reason at all.

A job? Where she'll spend 80 percent of her waking hours and young, healthy years to earn said money, minutes and gadgets? Just a petty detail.

She has so much to look forward to. I mean, the bills, the taxes - exciting stuff. The daily snarl of morning traffic, demanding bosses and impossible deadlines - ah, good times.

Enjoy the wrinkles that criss-cross your face like a broken mirror, and sags and pooches that make bikinis a distant memory. Aches and pains that appear each morning for no apparent reason. And embrace those ten pounds that materialize each year - they're not going anywhere.

But wait, there's more! Don't forget the endless chores and housework. After a ten-hour workday, mounds of laundry, dusty furniture and dirty dishes await. Weekends -what weekends? The grass needs cut, the gutters need cleaned and the toilet needs fixed. Whee!

She and her friends have noticed none of the above, though. To my daughter and most teen girls, growing up equals money, makeup and boys.

I've noticed smeared cosmetics over her freckles, wiped off hastily on the bus ride home. Boys call now, squeaky and nervous and asking for my little girl, who still doesn't legally weigh enough to get out of her car booster seat.

Sweetie? You want to grow up to get the cash, cosmetics and guys. I would, however, enjoy some time in your world. So here's my plan. It's not Take Your Child To Work Day, it's Give Your Child Your Work Day.

Tomorrow, dear, you get up at the butt-crack of dawn. Hop in the car and speed all the way into the city during rush hour. Work ten hours for a paycheck that's already spent at a job you're darn lucky to have.

Scoot back into the car for the evening traffic fray, and arrive home to cook for three people who won't like anything you fix. Supervise homework and baths, fall into bed. Repeat 20-plus years, or until death, whichever comes first.

Meanwhile, I'll live your life. So make sure my breakfast is ready, and don't wake me up too early. Take me to school, where I'll hobnob with my friends until the bell rings, and be sure to pick me up at the bus stop in a warm car.

Fire up the computer so I can instant message my friends all evening, while simultaneously talking on the phone and painting my toenails. Cook only pepperoni pizza or chicken nuggets for dinner, and remember - I tolerate nothing green.

Ha ha, just kidding, kid. You be you for a while longer, I'll be me.. I'll keep my job, belly, wrinkles and cell phone minutes. Keep your booster seat, your innocence and your sweet freckles.

Heck, just yesterday I was changing your diapers. And before you know it, you'll be changing mine.

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