Monday, April 25, 2005

This is advice to all teenagers and parents of teenagers, and parents of little ones because one day they too will become teenagers, and maybe you’ll think of this post.

A well-timed and sincere thank-you is one of the most important things you will ever learn to do.

Thank everybody. Thank your teachers. Thank your friends. Thank anyone who ever does anything for you. It will make your life immeasurably easier.

And most important of all, thank your parents. Here’s the thing. We are your parents and we love you. You thought we loved you when you were babies, but heck, back then you were easy to love. You were sweet and adorable. You went to bed at 7:30. What’s not to love? Sure, you had your moments. Like when you peed in the neighbor kid’s sandbox. Or like when in a fit of baby anger you would bite me on the collarbone and bring me to my knees…Talk about your Vulcan Death Grip. But each day ended with a story read in my lap and a sweet kiss goodnight, and then all was right with the world.

But now you’re almost an adult and to tell the truth, lots of times you aggravate the crap out of us. You have these independent notions that usually center on you knowing everything and Dad and I being an idiots. You do block-headed things. And some of these block-headed things land you in trouble. And our day doesn’t end with looking at an adorable, freshly bathed baby lying in a bed. It ends with us saying: Puhleeze go to bed. Take a shower, because you smell funny. And by the way, don’t you miss that bus again in the morning.

So I have to tell you, often times I don’t get that “all is right in the world” feeling.

Except when you say, “Thanks, Mom.”

Like this morning, when you really had me ticked. You had missed the bus for the eleventy-seventh time this year, but when you got out of the car, you peeked back in and said, “Thanks for the ride, Mom.”

And you’re thanking me a lot lately. When you call me for a ride home from practice, and I say I’m on my way, and you end the call with “OK, Thanks Mom.” When you get up from the table after a meal, you say “Thanks Mom, that was great.” So as I drove home this morning after the wild bus chase, I reflected on this and realized how much smoother life has been between us. Here’s the thing: I think that saying a simple Thank You reminds me of that kiss goodnight.

And I’ll tell you something else. If you think we loved you when you were little…well, multiply that times a bazillion now. We really would walk through fire for you. In fact, we know we would because we’ve done it. Your parents love you with a ferocity that you can't even imagine. And e will go to bat for you every time.

So even though sometimes you may think we’re “lame” and “so stupid” even “so immature” (!), we know that you love us, too. Because you say thanks. And you don't have to say it. You choose to say it.

And then all is right with our world.

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