We’ve been having lots of conversations about the teen years in our house. I’m not going to lie, some of them have caught me by surprise, despite thinking I was maybe at least partially prepared. Maybe you never can be properly prepared.
I’m trying to approach these chats in a factual manner; she’s a factual kind of kid. Her questions are often biological, not so much emotional. I’d expect nothing else from her to be honest and it makes it all a little more clinical, and somehow a little less embarrassing for us both.
But once we’ve covered the who, the what and the where, I do wonder when we’ll cover the why. Not that I want to hasten this process along.
Every time we talk, it’s like we’re one discussion closer to her growing up and moving away. As if there is a limited amount of times I can share information with her, then she officially becomes a grown up.
Like a learner driver who has to get their driving hours up. A certain amount in dry conditions, in the rain, at night. Once they hit that magic number, they can sit for the test and if they pass, they’re out on the roads on their own.
Ridiculous, I know.
But before we get to that point, there are few things, 20 in fact, I wanted to jot down, in case I forget to share them with her later, when she is ready.
Answers to questions she hasn’t yet asked, but might one day. And even if she doesn’t ask, I’d want her to know before she takes off into the street…
- Don’t be afraid to use tampons. Sitting on the side of the pool and missing out just because you have your period is ridiculous.
- Occasionally people will tell you that you can’t do something because you’re a girl. Tell them to go fuck themselves and then do it anyway.
- It’s ok to cry for no reason. Sometimes just getting through the day is reason enough.
- Matching underwear will always make you feel better. I don’t know why, it just does.
- Don’t have unprotected sex. I’d say don’t have sex until you’re at least thirty, but we both know that’s ridiculous, so just make it safe.
- Life is short. Eat the dessert, buy the shoes, dance, laugh and don’t waste time reading bad books.
- Good friends are better than lots of friends. It’s one of those times that quality over quantity is important.
- Education is key. The silver bullet. Stick with it.
- It’s ok to say no. In fact, it’s important you can and that you don’t feel bad for doing it – whether it’s to friends, boys or even me. Unless I’ve asked to clean your room, in which case, get to it.
- Run your own race. You don’t need to keep up with friends; do your own thing in your own time.
- Some weeks you’ll want to eat all the things, cry all the tears, everything will irritate you and you’ll feel like a bloated panda. It will pass; good friends and good men will understand.
- Inevitably one day a boy (or girl) will break your heart. And I’ll break their legs.
- In their teens, everyone lies about how far they’ve gone. Don’t let it, or anybody, push you past where you are comfortable.
- Get to know your boobs. Check them regularly and if anything changes, let me or your doctor know. Same with your vagina.
- Waxing hurts. So can shaving when you get it wrong. In fact, hair removal can be a risky business. For the first time at least, let me help you.
- Don’t let your friends pluck your eyebrows, pierce your ears, your belly button or dye your hair. Don’t ask me how I know that.
- Cheap alcohol will make you vomit. Wait until you can afford the good stuff.
- Never be afraid to call me; three in the morning, drunk, drugged, in hospital, across town at that party I said you couldn’t go to, in a police cell. Whatever. Just call.
- Tattoos are fine, but wait till you’re done with high school. And not on the neck or face please.
- Finally, there is nothing, nothing, you can do that will stop me or your dad loving you.