Truthfully, I don’t remember the whole ordeal—and that’s part of the problem. I do recall my teenager and I standing toe-to-toe, figuratively, and my drawing the proverbial line that she was not to cross. And then, because she’s a teen, she crossed it. As a result, I took her life.
Well, I took her phone, which, to any teenager, is pretty much the same as taking her life.
Then, as I was walking back to our bedroom to hide it, I heard her tell her sister, “I’ll just go get it tonight…”
I wanted to swivel my head around, snap my fingers in the air in a z-formation and say, “Oh no you dinn’t.”
Instead, I held my head high and continued my walk to my room, quietly and calmly closing the door behind me. I had to find a new hiding place. Apparently, my child was not above digging in my underwear drawer to Snapchat her besties about how mean her momma is.
I powered her phone off and then turned around and around in our bedroom trying to find the perfect spot. My husband walked in and wondered aloud what I was doing. Then, just as quickly, he responded, “I don’t really want to know.” He had heard the previous squabble between our daughter and me. I’m sure he was done with the teenage girl drama.
With her phone securely hidden where it would not be easily found, I emerged from the bedroom with a smirk on my face. My daughter, sometimes known as Dr. Jekyll and sometimes known as Mr. Hyde, was sitting on the couch, thumbing through this old-fashioned thing called a magazine. “When can I get my phone back, Mother?”
But it sounded like this: Muuuuuthurrrrr.
Her choice of names (and obvious mispronunciation) for me let me know her attitude had not been completely fixed.
I handed her a print-out of jobs to do, each with an assigned a point value. “When you reach one thousand points.”
I think I actually swaggered to the kitchen to make meatloaf, y’all. I felt like I was winning at this “Parenting A Teen” gig.
I whispered of my good parenting to my husband that night as we lay in bed. I pondered whether or not I should write a book about how to deal with your attitudinal teenager.
The next day, our daughter did all of her required chores and then a couple of things to earn her a hundred points toward getting her phone back. There was only one hard eye role and one mumbling under her breath—at least as far as I heard.
The kid became a bona fide accountant while tallying her phone points throughout the week. And within that week, she had hit her thousand points, and I had several tasks out of the way. A bonus for all of us was the change in attitude. My sweet, smart, safe girl was back in da’ house, yo. (Again, check my teenage vernacular.)
We had our talk about being a respectful member of this household … and this world as far as that goes. We hugged as we did in days of yore when she was tinier and quieter and easier to control. (What? She was!)
“So, can I have my phone back, Momma?”
I nodded then retreated to my room to get her phone. I closed the door behind me because I didn’t want her to know my new super-secret hiding place. Despite the new and improved attitude I had witnessed, I was certain that she hadn’t been completely cured of all of her teenage ways. I’d need to keep this super-secret hiding place a, well, secret.
Only … I couldn’t exactly remember where I’d hidden the phone.
I opened up all the drawers in my dresser. I dumped out all the drawers in my hubby’s dresser. I ransacked our closet with all the fury of a cat-burglar looking for a rare coin collection. My heart beat a little bit faster and a little bit harder as each potential hiding place turned out to be full of nothing but empty hope.
“Momma?” came a sweet voice from the other side of the door, “can I just have my phone back now?”
“Give me a minute,” I pleaded. “Momma’s doing some meditation.”
It was true. I meditated on exactly where I might hide such a precious teenage commodity. I pillaged through my old purses, my shoes, the empty Christmas box … noting that there was a tiny note stating “buy fake fingernails.” I mentally reminded myself to find another Christmas box.
My daughter and I must have reached a breaking point at the same time. She burst through the door proclaiming that her friend had just called her sister’s phone telling her that she had sent a very important text and she needed her phone right then.
I was busy trying to think of what I should say to her when my hand rested on a bathroom drawer full of dental floss freebies. I pulled the drawer and voila! Found the phone and returned it to its user.
See? Sometimes poor hygiene pays off. Sometimes.
Heather Davis is a momma, a writer and obviously very forgetful. She’s the author of “Life With Extra Cheese,” a look at her journey in the sandwich generation. Her website is www.Heather-Davis.net.