I need to take a moment today to thank my parents. Thanks to them, I am a well-adjusted, kind (I hope!) and caring individual. I have a lovely family, wonderful job, terrific friends.
I'd like to express my gratitude for all the good things in my life which I feel my parents are directly and indirectly responsible for helping me to achieve.
Oh, and one other thing I can credit my folks with is surviving my adolescence as I was growing up in Youngstown. That's a big one.
Thanks, Mom and especially you, Dad, for not launching me into Jupiter's orbit during my adolescence. I'm thinking I may have well deserved it.
Holy crap, why doesn't anyone ever tell parents that their children, upon becoming pre-teens, morph into horrid, awful creatures?
I'm not sure if it's the budding hormonal changes, the frustration of having been treated like a child for more than a decade, or simply the desire to show some inaugural independence. But children hovering just this side of teenage-dom have a tendency to be, how shall I put this, ungrateful little buggers?
Here's a typical exchange between my husband and son I'd like to share to illustrate the point:
KERRY: "Kyle, could you please make your bed?"
KYLE: "Oh my gosh, Dad, you are SO mean! I JUST got done folding clothes - and that was only because I wanted Mom to buy me some Silly Bandz!"
KERRY: "But Kyle, that was three days ago. Besides, it's up to you to make your bed every day, buddy. And, you should want to help us around the house because it's the right thing, not just because you're being rewarded."
KYLE: "WHAT?! Make the bed every single day? Do other random helpful acts? Well, then I think we're going to have to renegotiate the terms of my allowance. Clearly, this additional daily task is putting undue stress on my psyche, which in turn, creates an ambiance of forced labor that smacks of hostility and even borders on cruelty, so there unto we must revisit my compensatory stipend, the terms of which may only be opened for pre-contract negotiation in lieu of proprietary gifting."
KYLE: "I demand a cell phone."
KERRY: "Go to your room."
OK, one entry was embellished, but you get the gist. Today's pre-teens want stock options, monetary bonuses, and oh yeah, the latest incarnation of an iPhone or Blackberry.
You know what I had when I was 11? A transistor radio. It got FM, and I was over the moon! On a really clear night, I could dial up the audio from TV channels. And you know how I paid for it? Allowance money that I earned doing dishes, making my bed, vacuuming, and doing whatever else my parents told me to do.
A cell phone. Really?
"He wants a what? He's not even at the age when he's calling friends, is he?" said my equally-stunned pal Chris Ruggieri of Warren when updated her.
Not only is he calling friends - but they are calling him. And one of them ... is ... a ... girl!
Again, Chris and I were floored. Fifth grade girls calling boys? I began to see the main motivation for the cell phone query. Hmpf.
When I was in fifth grade - or any other grade up through and including college - girls didn't call boys. At least, not in my house.
"If a boy wants to talk to you, he'll call you," my father would tell my sister and I with great emphasis - and often.
Look, it's not that I don't want Kyle to have a cell phone, actually. I do think they're terrific for safety reasons. And it's not even that I really mind that girls call him (although I wasn't banking on this for another five years or so); it's the attitude of entitlement. I mean, seriously, kids. You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar - and more bars with chores than contempt.
Mom, Dad, if I gave you lip like this as an adolescent or any other time, will you please forgive me?
I don't even want a cell phone or Silly Bandz or anything.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.