I honestly feel like we all need to take cover right now. Like, I’m seriously looking for a place to hide. I am getting ready to ask Bonus Dad to cover me while I move the dogs out one by one for their safety, but, oh my God, probably one of the worst things that could go wrong is happening. Right now. She’s lost her phone charger.
“Charger” is a four-letter word around here, and a word that will inevitably start a remake of the Trojan War. I’m pretty sure if she doesn’t find it soon, she’s gonna channel her inner “Xena – Warrior Princess” and charge through the house with her sword held high and a battle cry in her voice because the minute you say, “charger” around this house, all hell breaks loose. I’m not kidding — that one time, when she was at 3%, I’m pretty sure she spun her head around and threw up on the walls. I was surprised she didn’t go into convulsions, but there was this subtle shaking in her hands and I just knew at any minute she was going to lose it. Thank God Bonus Dad had an extra charger because I swear, if she had to look for one for two more minutes, she was going to make a tin foil hat and stick her hand in a socket to charge the damn thing herself. So, yeah, we avoid that conversation as much as possible.
So, this. This is not good. No, this is not good.
It’s about this time that she would normally steal the charger off my bed stand but since I am sitting in the living room, she can’t get past me and in my room without me seeing and asking her what she’s doing. It’s quiet up in her room, I’m guessing because her phone is dead, and she can’t play her music off it. Thank God for that. It’s crappy music anyway, but the sound of silence is scary. Like, really scary.
The silence reminds me of another time when she stole my charger. I demanded she bring it back, and she did, but between the time I asked her, and the time she made it to my room, there was this eerie silence as we waited for her to appear. Total quiet. Until we heard the stomping. First down the stairs, then across the carpet in the living room, then across the wood floor in the hall. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. The blood rushed through my veins, causing my heart to pound waiting for the door to be flung open. At that moment, I was hoping it was her because if it wasn’t, from the sound of things, it was Godzilla. Not sure which one would have been better at that moment. Fire breathing dragons, or a 15-year-old.
But tonight, oh yes, tonight, it’s silent again. The calm before the storm. I must act. I must get my war plan together. And pronto. I cannot let her sense weakness.
As I see it, I have two choices. Well, three, I guess, if I want to sacrifice my own phone access. I can:
- Surrender my charger without a word.
- Confront her about where hers is and ask her why she doesn’t have it, then follow up with a lecture on responsibility (because that’s worked so well before),
- I can go buy her a new charger.
Oh yes, I can hear it now. Every perfect parent out there is screaming silently, or even out loud, “DO NOT BUY HER A PHONE CHARGER.” “TEACH HER RESPONSIBILITY.” “DON’T LET HER GET AWAY WITH IT.”
Alright, thank you to all the parents out there who have all the answers. I appreciate it. And trust me, I’ve done it. I have taken her phone away. I have taken privileges away. I have made her go to bed at night without a charged phone, much like our parents made us go to bed without dinner. And guess what?
She doesn’t care.
Just like we didn’t care if our dinner was still sitting out at breakfast from the night before because our moms told us that if we didn’t eat what she had made for dinner, then by God, we would eat it for breakfast the next day. That’ll teach us. Oh, come on, how many of you really had stale meatloaf for breakfast the when you woke up because mommy dearest was trying to prove a point? And how many of you lapped up your dinner the next time she made it and didn’t feed it to the dog under the table? Ok, so maybe some of you did out of pure fear, but for the most part, it’s a ridiculous call to arms and an unnecessary stand-off. Nobody wins. Because really, nobody wants salmonella poisoning. Not you, and even your mom knows she doesn’t want you to get sick from eating food that is no good anymore because then she has to be up with you all night cleaning vomit out of your hair.
So, let’s be reasonable. I don’t want to fight with my kid. I don’t want her to feel like she can’t tell me when she’s screwed up. Because people screw up. She does. I do. You do.
Bonus Dad knew what was going on. He could feel it in the air. He knew what was coming. And then he offered this piece of advice:
“You know, she really needs a charger that stays here all the time. One that never leaves the house. Then she can take her other one with her to her friends.”
I called her down and said nothing other than that I was taking her to the store. She happily got into the car. We drove to the store. I picked out a charger. She asked what that was for because she had found hers when she was upstairs. I told her that was fine, but this one was her home charger, and could never leave the house. I would even color it or put stickers on it or whatever I needed to do, but it could never leave the house, so she would always have one there. She smiled.
Holy cow, she smiled. The heavens opened in the middle of Walgreens and the Hallelujah chorus played. Angels slowly descended with their harps of gold and all was right in the world.
We got home. She had dinner. She offered to let me meet the boy she likes. She did her laundry.
And now, the next morning, she came to wake me, so I could give her a ride to school, because, well, you know – she still doesn’t have a driver’s license. But, when she woke me up, she kissed me on the cheek.
You know how often that happens anymore?
Christmas, my birthday, and when her phone is charged.
I’ll take it.
I have learned a valuable lesson about picking and choosing my battles today. We always say we’re going to do it, but we never do it. For us, buying the charger was a solution to the problem. It was proactive. Until she loses this one, it’s there for her if she forgets her charger at her friends or in somebody’s car. It’s not a big deal anymore. She’s not going to come home and freak out because she can’t post a selfie because her phone is dead.
I don’t regret it for one second, and I’m going to do it again.
Having a bad hair day? Here, let me buy you a charger.
Friends being jerks? Here, let me buy you a charger.
Got an F on that test and you feel bad about it? Here, let me buy you a charger.
Teacher called you out in class? Here, let me buy you a charger.
Obviously, I’m not going to buy her a charger every time something goes wrong, but I am going to help her find a solution, not just after something happens, but before. I am going to give her the tools to be proactive, and while I know this is a temporary fix and sooner or later some new drama is going to come up, I’m going to enjoy this moment. I am going to enjoy this victory. I am going to revel in the battle I chose not to fight.
I’m going to sip my coffee and do the dishes and not complain once about the crusty cereal bowl she finally brought out of her room after a month.
No, friends. I am going to enjoy the high. Because, right now, everything is good. And these moments are few and far between with a teenager in the house. I’m taking advantage of it. Today, she is not a jerk. And I’m loving every, single second.
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