My daughter turns sixteen on Thursday.
She has been surprisingly easygoing, pleasant and drama free-
until three weeks ago.
Her Dad decided to throw her a “Sweet Sixteen” party.
A two thousand dollar party.
I did not raise my kids to covet the fancy stuff. When other parents were outfitting their kids in designer clothes, I bought their clothes at Target. Birthday parties were strictly home style. No more than six or seven friends. Homemade cake, and a fun theme. These parties taught my kids that they weren’t the complete center of everyone’s universe. They celebrated a special day with a few close friends- no pony rides, no clowns, no bouncy houses. Presents accepted under twenty dollars, and thank you notes promptly written afterwards.
But the girl’s head is turned and she is suddenly full of herself. She lamented when a friend could not come early- “doesn’t she know this is a special day? Why doesn’t she want to come and help me dress?” She has stalked around the house telling me, her brothers, and her friends how special we should be treating her, because, after all, she only turns sixteen once.
To which I answer, thank goodness. Divorce creates a lot of division and it is exacerbated when one parent uses money to buy a child’s loyalty and affection. What’s a teenager to do when a parent offers expensive parties, clothes, and other goodies.
I can’t compete financially, and frankly it isn’t my lifestyle anyway.
So, I’ve got to bite my tongue and wait. Wait for the other shoe to drop. Wait for the inevitable disappointment and hurt that will come when the party is over, and her Dad ignores her once again.
And wait for her to remember boring, old-fashioned Mom- the rock that allows her to try out this new attitude without fear of losing my unconditional love.