Dear Teenage Son: It’s Payback Time

Dear Teenage Son,

By now you are probably wondering why I’m so strict. You already know the short answer: because I love you and I care about you.

But I think you’re ready to hear the full version. I don’t let you do all the fun, crazy things that you friends are doing because I love you. I loved you enough to suffer through a horrible pregnancy for you. And while, sure, I care about your health and well-being, this is about karma.

If it helps ease your angst, here is some more background info on all the things I won’t let you do:


Attend parties with alcohol

You want to drink a beer when you’re sixteen? That’s cute. You know what I wanted to drink when I was pregnant with you? Water.

I was so sick with the most vicious heartburn I have ever experienced that I couldn’t even keep down a glass of water. On top of prescription medication, bottles and bottles of Tums, and every home remedy known to the internet, I would still wake up in the middle of the night gagging on reflux. A glass of water would leave me sick for an hour, and I spent many night sleeping in the recliner.

If I can make it through your entire pregnancy that left me so sick I could barely drink, you’re going to be able to make it until college to have that beer.


Go to the skate park without wearing your helmet

So I just “happened” to drive past the skate park the other day and saw your helmet propped up against your backpack. As I suspected, it was not snugly around your skull like I had suggested. That skull houses a very large brain – one I have a vested interest in protecting.

I’m going to spare you the details, teenage son of mine. But let me just tell you that, when you were born, your head was in the 90th percentile.

You owe me on this one.


Get a tattoo before you turn 18

I worked hard for that body, so no, I’m not going to let you color on it like you drew all over my walls when you were three. Do you know how many hours I spent scrutinizing your skin when you were a baby? “Is he too red? Is he too jaundiced? Is that a rash? Is that a hive? What is everything he had to eat in the last 24 hours? Are the freckles on his nose the absolute most adorable things in the world?”

So as a thank you for all that agony, you can spend 18 years tattoo free, and in return, I won’t tell anyone about that birthmark on your butt.


Go skydiving

That’s great that you want to hurl yourself out of a plane towards your probable death. Sounds so fun. That reminds me of a story funny story: When I was pregnant with you, I wanted to be able to walk more than five feet at a time.

But guess what? I couldn’t. It turns out my body made copious amounts of relaxin (this hormone that makes everything go loosey-goosey, see heartburn issue above). That relaxin turned my hips into jelly and left me unable to walk more than a few feet without searing pain.

As a belated punishment, you are now required to stay within five feet of the ground at all times.


Stay out past curfew

You know what the last time I stayed up all night was? The night I gave birth to you. It was 10 p.m. and as soon as I stood up to change into my pajamas – my water broke. You weren’t born until after noon the next day.

It’s been 16+ years and I’m still tired. That’s the last time you get to keep me awake all night. I’ll see you tucked into your bed at the agreed upon hour.

I know, I know – this is unfair. Perhaps if I had been one of those women who sailed through pregnancy, only gaining 25lbs and a glow, I would let you road trip to Vegas for your 17th birthday. But that’s now how it went down.

I love you, my child. Up until I met you officially, our relationship had only consisted of you making me sick, tap dancing on my bladder, and kicking me in the ribs. Even after all of that, I thought you were the most wonderful thing in the world.

There’s nothing you can do to make me care about you any less. Believe me, because you spent your first nine months trying just that. So if you break these rules, I will probably be bad. I will probably scream something about going through 14 hours of labor with you. I will still love you, though.  I might try to put conditions on your behavior, but I can’t put any on my love for you.

Seriously, though, no skydiving.

Related: To My Sweet Daughter on your First Day of Daycare

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