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Parenting as Podvig: Trouble Tolerating Teenagers

Dear Mom,

Thanks for the email asking about Anna (“Christ’s grandmother”) and the kids. I’ve been teaching Maddie (“Mary Magdalene”) to drive, so there’s been more weeping and gnashing of teeth than usual. On the bright side she’s upped our usual giving to the poor; she’s hit two 1970s station wagons and a Yugo so far this month. She’s like a magnet for bad cars.

Adam (“The Original”) has gotten moodier. Yesterday I asked if his homework was done, and he replied that he didn’t appreciate my autocratic dictatorship. “Dad, get out of my life! Would you just drive me to the mall?” I agreed just to get him out of the house, and when we got there he asked me for twenty bucks. I don’t even know what to say about that.

Maddie’s been complaining lately about how driving a beater affects her socially. “You don’t understand what it’s like to be a teenager. There’s so much pressure!” But as Anna put it, “Sugar, it wasn’t a beater until we let you start driving it. Since you took the keys there are four new dents in that bumper and a hole in the garage.”

Anna and I are in desperate need of a date night, but if we leave them alone in the house Adam’s going to play chef again and we can’t afford another new stove. And Maddie keeps asking when she can have a party. “A real one, Dad, where you’re not home.” It’s my darn house!

I talked to Father Ted (“Theodore the Studite”) about it. He reminded me to thank you for not strangling me when I was their age. I love you, Mom.

And if you’d like quality time with your grandkids, I’d be happy to airmail them to you. I’ll even throw in an extra roll of duct tape.



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