Getting It Right

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Since I’ve written in the past about pre-teen angst, it’s only fair to share when things go right.

This morning was a comedy of errors as my thirteen-year-old tried to shoulder a huge, heavy backpack while carrying her lunch bag and saxophone in each hand. It was still dark out but time for early morning band practice.

As the car glided through the quiet suburban streets, I told my daughter that the size and weight of her backpack reminded me of Cheryl Strayed, the woman portrayed by Reese Witherspoon in the movie Wild, who hiked the Pacific Coast Trail by herself.

It had been a three-day weekend, and I said to my daughter, “You know, you might not believe it, but I’m kind of sad – ”

She cut in, in a mimic of my voice, “You’d think I’d be tap dancing to have you all gone, but no. Back to school, back to work, back to responsibilities.”

“You always say that, Mom,” she explained, as I chuckled at how perfectly she had nailed my way of speaking.

“But aren’t you glad I feel that way?” I asked her.

“Yeah, but you said it after Thanksgiving, you said it after Christmas, now Martin Luther King Day.”

We both giggled. I can be something of a broken record, a trait that only worsens as I get older.

As my daughter struggled her way out of the car, hoisting that horrible backpack, I called, “Bye, Reese Witherspoon!”

She laughed and closed the car door.

As I pulled away from the curb, I smiled, reflecting that in the realm of parenting my teenager, sometimes we get it right.

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