My beautiful, gifted child has fallen victim to what I call "Disney Channel Syndrome." She actually believes the things she sees in movies, reads in magazines, and hears in motivational speeches.
I know. Tragic, right?
My diagnosis was confirmed last week when Cori announced that if she weren't allowed to spend a gazillion dollars on a concert ticket, drive alone from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, stay in a hotel, and attend a music festival comprised entirely of Korean pop bands, she would have no choice but to toss us into the Betty Ford Clinic for Criminally Micro-Managing Parents and throw away the key.
A rather extreme reaction to, "Honey, I just don't see how we could make that work," wouldn't you say?
The thing is, she saw this as just another example of how we're trying to ruin her life and keep her from realizing her full potential. The fact that she believed her full potential could only be realized by moving to Seoul and training to be in the next musical sensation to grind out of their pop culture mill was, to her, perfectly rational. Don't tell her that she's not Korean. Or Japanese. Or even an almond-eyed white girl. It's irrelevant. All that mattered was, she's a rabid fan who was missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see her favorite groups perform and perhaps even meet them, at which time they'd say, "Oh, my gosh! You're just what we've been looking for! Come! Sing and dance and be happy and famous with us!" Only in Korean.
And of course, it was all our fault.
But, in fairness, she was behaving exactly the way you would expect her to if she were starring in, say, "Cheetah Girls." Or "High School Musical 50: Walkers and Wheelchairs." Or my personal favorite, "Twhy - weren't - there - vampires - around - when - we - lived - in - Seattle?"
In every one of those stories, there's a protagonist who has a great big dream that no one really understands. The world just doesn't get that this kid, this one individual out of the six billion on the planet, is totally different from all the rest of humanity. And the only thing standing between this uber awesome girl and the fame and glory that are her due, is...
...The Dream Squasher.
And guess who is always cast in that role? That's right. The evil mother. Only she's not really evil. She's worse. She's *gulp* Reasonable. The one who has to say, "Sweetie, we're just regular folks, living regular lives. Stardom is for those touched by God, like Miley Cyrus or Sylvester Stallone. Let that dream go, baby. Accept that your place is behind the counter at our family's Paint Ball Emporium and Tofu Warehouse."
So what choice does the poor, misunderstood star have? She's forced to move in with a one-eyed tap dancing instructor who was recently released from a Chinese prison camp and speaks Esperanto. The idea is, once she shows up on "The Universe Only Thinks It's Got Talent" and wins everything, including a 2011 Subaru and immortality, The Dream Squasher will finally be vanquished forever.
Backstage, the Now-Fully-Understood Mega Star and The Dream Squasher will have a tearful reunion, where the exchange will run along the lines of, "Mom, I'm sorry, but I had to take control of my own destiny!" and The Dream Squasher will say, "It's all right, honey. I was a stupid old fool who should have known that I couldn't keep a light as bright as yours from shining on the whole world. It has been an honor, nay, a sacred privilege, to be your mother. Seriously, if I could have you autograph my uterus, I totally would."
They hug, the one-eyed tap dancer comes along and, tugging the girl's arm, says, "Jerr finzz ba klumpdin rahde! Blort! Blort!", which evidently is the Esperanto signal for the Star to be hurtled into her rightful place in the cosmos, while The Dream Squasher fades into ignominious oblivion.
Oh. It is just so touching. Specifically, it touches that one spot right in the back of the throat...
I adore my daughter, I really do. And I can't blame her for buying into this nonsense. But nonsense it is, and as long as I'm wearing the Dream Squasher uniform, I might as well clear up a few more myths swirling around like whirlpools in the otherwise pleasant waters of adolescence.
Myth 1: You can do anything you put your mind to.
To test the truthfulness of this claim, decide right now to be three inches taller. Do it! Do it! Just put your mind to it, and it will totally happen! (... how's it working out so far?) Fact is, you'll probably have to work really hard all of your life, just to remain comfortably average. There's no shame in this. Your parents have been doing it for years, and look how happy they are!
Myth 2: Good parents support their kids in everything they do.
Really? Just try shoplifting, even once. Smoking dope. Running away. Unless you define "support" as "a grounding so aggressive it has you envying coma patients," you're going to have to admit that this one's bogus.
Myth 3: Making a great, ultimatum-intensive speech and then marching proudly out of the room is a terrific way to get what you want.
Have you ever wondered why they cut to commercial right after those scenes? It turns out there's a lot more dialogue in the script. And it's usually very "supportive".
Myth 4: The popular kids are as misunderstood and confused as the rest of you.
No they're not. They're really quite happy with the way things have worked out for them.
Myth 5: Life should be "fun."
Myth 6: Well, at least it shouldn't be "hard."
See Myth 5.
Myth 7: I'm entitled -
You know what, kiddo, I'm gonna stop you right there. You'll only embarrass yourself.
Myth 8: "That's totally unfair!" is a persuasive argument.
In the real world, the definition of "fair" is "whatever works best for the person in charge at the moment." Just remember, in this family at least, there are a lot of times when things are unfairly slanted in your favor. Which means that there are at least three other people in the room squawking about how "unfair" I'm being. It's all part of the package.
Myth 9: The best thing a parent can do is raise happy children.
Wrong. The best thing a parent can do is raise productive, loving, independent adults. Which leads me to...
Myth 10: Someday you'll thank me for squashing a few of your dreams.
That's all right. You don't need to thank me. Simply moving out of my basement will be thanks enough.