Monday, August 16, 2010

Sweden's Lovely This Time of Year

The Victim. You can tell she's a victim by how tortured she looks.

As I've mentioned before, Vanessa told me recently she's suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.  It's that condition some prisoners and college students develop when they begin to identify with their captors. 

Captors.  Sheesh. 

You cuff a kid to the radiator for one weekend and you're branded for life.

This observation was made during one of several discussions a flambé  on the subject of boundaries and the pole she'd been using to vault over them.  Yes, this summer, things around here have, on occasion, become a little heated.  If you dropped in on us unannounced, I hope you were wearing asbestos-lined skivvies. 

I gotta say right now - I absolutely adore this daughter.  She has always been a source of energy and entertainment, a veritable calliope of singing and fluting and pianoing and whistling and gabbing.  Way too talented, she can harmonize with anything capable of producing sound, including car alarms and flatulence.  She's smart and funny and quirky.

Sadly, she's also 20.  Which, as most of you know, means she's loopy as a two dollar sweater.

The problem with 20 is, it just gets you coming and going.  Unless you're married, and maybe not even then, you're right on the cusp of being an independent adult, without any of the credentials, life experience, or cash to actually make it happen.

Twenty means your favorite television shows are "Rizzoli and Isles" and "Phineas and Ferb". You wear three inch heels and a Circus, Circus wristband to church. You diagnose carpal tunnel in your dad's thumbs and burst into tears at the prospect of driving to the dentist alone.  You're certain you could out-parent any mother in the county, but you still believe meals are conjured out of thin air by chanting the magic words, "What's for dinner?"

Her between-semester break started out great. Having spent most of April and May in Europe, she came home happy and energized and grown up. She smiled and complied when I asked her to take her turn with the dishes. She chauffeured her brother to the mall. Swept and mopped the roughly seventy acres of tile we have on the main floor of our house, voluntarily and with a song in her heart. She was Cinderella with a driver's license, a double scoop of Joy ice cream, the kind of girl they make Seminary movies about.

Then, the next day, I found her writing to the ACLU with a grievance that the Wet Towel Statute of 2007* was unconstitutional, and insisting that they slap me with an injunction against any future demands that she do her own laundry.

* This states that when your carpet has so much mildew it qualifies for Federal Agricultural subsidies, there are too many wet towels on your bedroom floor.

So, it all came to a head as we were driving to Cafe Rio, where I would be buying her lunch, and I once again opened the subject of "Why The Roll Call of Parents in our Family Doesn't Include You".  After reviewing the previous 48 hours in our home and concluding that she had issued, on average, one order per relative per minute, setting a record that even the Joint Chiefs of Staff would have a hard time besting, I wrapped up my opening salvo with the words, "If you don't think you can be content as one of the junior members of the family, it may be time to strike out on your own."

This was where the Stockholm Syndrome thing came in.

"Gaaaah!!  You're driving me crazy!"  (I love it when my kids tell me that.  It feels so "Circle of Life.")  "You know I don't have any money and can't move out and couldn't possibly be expected to keep my opinions about Jake's Facebook status and Cori's social life and David's crazy exes and Dad's hostility toward 'Hannah Montana' and your insane notion that you're the boss of the house all to myself! 

"So either I have to stop mouthing off and be pleasant and cooperative or you'll throw me out into the streets to be a prostitute or an alarm salesman or maybe even get eaten by coyotes, which I'm pretty sure you'd think was perfectly fine, huh?  You'd even laugh about it like I deserved it or something.

"I swear, you're pure evil!  I'm a prisoner!  I've got Stockholm Syndrome!  Waaaaaah!!"

Of course, I had a wise and brilliant retort to all of this drama, but it had to wait.  Instead, I turned to her and asked, in the voice of terrorists and hostage takers everywhere, "Do you want the pork burrito like usual, or should we wait for your Red Cross package to arrive?"

I know.  I'm practically a war criminal.


Kristina P. said...

Is prostitution all that bad, really? It seems like it's the State Career of Nevada.

Also, I will forever thank your daughters for being the ones to reveal to me that I am now the old, creepy adult and they have no interest in hearing about my sex life or pap smear skirts. It was a real sas eyeopener to me.

Hel said...

That poor little girl. I remember well the position she is in. I absolutely ADORED telling my family what to do.

Judging from your recent conversations, I would say she doesn't have much longer until she realises the benefits of moving out far outweigh the benefits of staying at home. Give it another year, DeNae. Should I send a Red Cross care package to you to help you while you wait for the inevitable?

Braden said...

Sheesh, if you are a war criminal then I don't even know what the sins I've committed against my teenagers count as. Social genocide?

Melanie said...

That's why I got married at 19.
Tell her to jump on that bandwagon then she can have her own family(hostages). I know a single guy in LV, nice, clean, likes making music. We could have her outta there by christmas, just say the word!

KyAnn (like Cayenne Pepper, only HOTTER) said...

Oh my heck you just described my life. My oldest is turning 20 soon and knows it AAALLLLLL. I love love love turo love this post.

Stacy said...

My husband, who never reads blogs mind you, is rolling on the floor after this post. Aaah, the things we have to look forward to!

rebecca said...

You are an evil, evil mother and you must be punished. Gotta tell ya, I've been there, done that and now that the Daughter is 31 and on her own (yay!).
Re-live it? Never in a million years. In fact, you couldn't pay me enuf. But you know what, relax, ten years from now the tables will be turned and you're gonna drive her insane. So take care of yourself real good cause you're not gonna wanna miss that show!

*sigh* the sad part is I identified with this whole post....mothers unite!

Baby Sister said...

Haha! Reading this makes me glad I'm not 20 anymore...Although I was never that bad. Yes, I know, everyone says that...but by 20 I had lived in Brazil with my parents and was getting ready to serve a mission with my parents still being in Brazil and me being home. I had to grow up fast, so I did.

AS Amber said...

I guess this is the difference between a youngest child, fresh outa chemo, twenty year old and Vanessa. Twenty was my best year. I loved living at home but I'd never lived on my own so I had nothing to compare it to.

Now I gotta go back and check all of Jake's FB statuses. She better watch what she says to or about Jake...she'll have a fight on her hands with an adorable two year old!

Love you, Nessie!!! Be nice to mama ;-)

Rebecca said...

When I was 20, I was hell on wheels.

Just kidding. I was a responsible semi-adult. Oh yeah, and I was married 2 months before I turned 21. Then had my first child 3 months before I turned 22.

Lost childhood: the reason I now blog.

Kimberly said...

She should go on the lecture circuit. She can give talks in high schools about her horrifying experiences and make all the other young people out there feel favoured by comparison!

Garden of Egan said...

I keep thinking I'm going to see you on the national news or something.
I hope Vanessa is able to strike it rich in the big city of Vegas. I'm pretty sure she'll do great as a stripper or something.
It would certainly give her some awesome topics of conversation when she comes back to school.

Mikki said...

Ah, twenty. I remember it too well. So dumb, yet I thought I was SOOOO smart.
Thank goodness, I have about 9 years before my oldest reaches this stage. Not looking forward to it though. I'm sure it'll be here before I know it.
Hey, if the prostitution thing peters out, she could probably try professional poker playing.

Momza said...

Holy Smokes! I want to --no, I AM going to print this sucker out and wallpaper my house with it, beginning on my almost-twenty-year-old-daughter's DOOR!!!!
Amen and Amen!!!
Totally, my favorite post ever!
Thanks DeNae!!

JoeinVegas said...

She doesn't have to become a prostitute. But I hear tips are still pretty good at the OG.

T said...

here I was thinking that finally my 15 year old and I were going to be able to get along. (we can't see eye to eye - he's 8 inches taller than I am)

Now I know it's just Stockholm Syndrome... he'll be glad to know, he can't figure out how I suddenly got to be "cool" after all.

Jessica said...

If that's 20, I am glad that I have 4 boys that I am kicking out the door at 19. Shoo boys, go and live by yourself and think of some one else for like 2 years. Come back at 21.

Good Luck. We all have had those moments where we are sure that our navel is the center of the universe.

Oh, and being the first born, I know something about wanting to be in charge and say something to every sibling that dares cross my you know what I'm talking about?

DeNae said...

Jessica, the difference between my being the oldest and having an opinion on every move my younger sibs made, and Vanessa's attitude, is I was being helpful, and she's just being 20.

Cheeseboy said...

I do believe that they should lower the missionary age for girls to 19 so moms would not have to put up with Stockholm Syndrome. Also: They should stay out until they are 21 too.

Also, I had Cafe Rio today. Pork Salad.

Also, my sister was also very bossy at that age. She is 32 and I am waiting for the phase to pass.

wendy said...

Ah, the tender age of 20.....old enough to think you know it all, want to make your own rules, be independent.........but still asking "can you lend me ten bucks".

did she get the burrito?

wendy said...

boy do I miss me some Cafe Rio

Christine Macdonald said...

ohhhhh it's great to be back!!!!!

Missed your writing!

Missed YOU!

Wel ldone here lady!

Hugs and kisses. :)

Anna said...

Hmmm, I just wish I was a little further from being the 20 year old oldest daughter. I didn't move out, my parents moved across country and left me all alone at college, lol. Then I got married. But I *think* I was doing a reasonable job moving onto independence even before they moved. They even tried to talk me into switching schools so I could go with them. Yeah, right.

Subee41 said...

What a great post! I was laughing out loud literally! Heres some good news. One day, she'll be a mom of a 20 year old and you can do what I do. Pretend to be all sympathetic to your daughter as she complains to you about her daughter, but then, when she's out of site, pump that fist in the air and 'high-five' God! Oh, it feels soooo good!

Lara said...

You're right. She's a 20 year old Sophia. :)

I lived at home the year between coming home from my mission and getting married. Bad decision. Bad, bad decision. Not that I didn't love my parents, but I did need to just be on my own. :)

myimaginaryblog said...

Um, this sounds almost exactly like my relationship with my (apparently very advanced) 10-year-old. You mean I've got another 10 years of this to look forward to?