A Love Letter to My Friends With Graduating Seniors

29 05 2012

Even though my oldest is only 17 and just ending his junior year in high school, most of his friends are seniors and thus getting ready to graduate and move on to the next phase of their lives, which involves bleeding Mom and Dad dry of every last dime they have; AKA college.

Many of my friends with departing seniors have mixed emotions about this change in family dynamics. On the one hand that parental bond makes it hard to let go, but on the other hand just think what you can do with that extra spare bedroom. It’s tears one moment, and “When are you leaving, again?” the next. The dichotomy is enough to make you want to have a (or another) cocktail.

But then again what did we expect? From the time your sweet baby boy pees on you while lovingly changing his diaper to when your overly-developed 16-year-old daughter curses you for not letting her wear a Fredericks of Hollywood black lace halter to a monster truck rally, you are in for a rough ride. Why should their extraction from home be any different?

Oh sure, Mother Nature does kick in with a little help. After your endearing cherub crosses over to the dark side somewhere around the age of 13, it’s sometimes hard to connect with the cuddly child who once adored you…which makes it easier to let go. Especially when they do something hormonally crazy like morph into a mouthy teenager who publicly declares you look like a chemo patient whenever you wear your favorite knit cap. It’s kind of like watching an innocent baby bird turn into a scary pterodactyl capable of ripping the heart out of a mama bear.

Thank goodness our teenagers show this feisty bit of independence, or else I don’t know if we parents would ever let them leave home. But that doesn’t make their “pulling away” any easier to deal with.

Personally, I’ve found the best way to cope with the stinging effects of teenage back-sass is to dish out just as good as you get. Yeah, yeah, I know all the parenting books tell you to never engage in an argument with your teen. Instead, just quietly nod, like you’re some Zen master on an episode of Kung Fu teaching David Carradine how to level a circle of bad guys with rapid-fire karate kicks to each bad-ass solar plexus. Hogwash to that, I say. How are kids ever going to learn the fine art of high-quality, sarcastic discourse if we simply let them get away with their smart-mouthed, parentally-aimed retorts? Dissing your parents is easy, but holding your own when Mom comes back with an equally smarty-pants answer, well, that raises the bar. It’s our duty as parents to show our kids we’re not totally lame (only partially).

That’s why I’ve come up with 10 snappy comebacks that I encourage you to use when your little imp gets the urge to use you as a verbal punching bag. Consider it my graduation gift to you, as a parent, since in reality you get nothing for propelling your kid through 12 years of public school except a bill for $200K worth of college. (Such a deal!) Even though it’s your teen’s job to be a sass master and your job to be the bigger person, you can still do all that AND have a little bit of fun by returning fire with gems like:

  1. Tell it to your therapist in 20 years.
  2. Yes in fact, it is my job to make your life miserable.
  3. If you think you have rights, feel free to exercise your right to remain silent.
  4. Getting a job doesn’t mean you get increased maid service at home.
  5. Last I checked dirty clothes DO NOT pick themselves up off the floor. That’s where you come in.
  6. I welcome your comments, but reserve the right to ignore them without notice.
  7. You’re right. It’s not fair. Next ridiculous assumption?
  8. If you wish I’d just go away, why do you keep coming back to me for money?
  9. Increasing the volume of your voice does not make you smarter. (Be careful, however, because they can turn this one around on you, if you’re not careful.)
  10. And finally, my favorite:

  11. Yes, I was young once, but I got over it.

By now you’re probably saying, “Stacy, where were you with this ammunition when my kid started the eighth grade?” Sorry, but I was figuring it all out back then myself. But take solace in knowing that your graduating senior will still be with you over the summer. And as the zero hour approaches to leave the nest, he or she will probably grow increasingly cranky as a way to push you away and embrace independence. At least with these snappy comebacks you can add a little bit of levity to the situation. And I promise you, nothing helps soften that special emotional blow that only your kids can deal out like laughter through tears. Trust me on that one.


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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.



22 responses

29 05 2012

Wait, wait, I’m a graduating Senior!!!!!!! I’m 62 and am now realizing that I should have been planning my “EXIT” for thirty two years. Yes, today I watched “Family Feud”, and the winning answer to “when should you start planning for your retirement”, was 30. The contestant said 65. WRONG!!!! I thought it was 62. . . . . . . . WRONG……………..did you hear the GONG BUZZer? It’s too late for me. I lost the contest!!!!!!!!!!! What do I do now? I know, Im going on the dating game. . . . As a condolence prize could I go on the “LOVE BOAT?”

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Wrong kind of graduating senior, Dave. At our age we’re graduating to the old folks home! Not a step I’m ready to take (nor you either, for that matter)! And BTW, in today’s economy you should plan for your retirement the second you’re born. Collecting change in a nice mason jar under your crib is a sensible way to start. 😉

29 05 2012
Rich Crete

#3 is simply classic!
#7 sounds like my dad who’s used “Rule #1: There is no Fairness God”
Great stuff.

29 05 2012
Rich Crete

sorry ’bout the typo…..who

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

“Fairness” seems to be a universal theme with teenagers. I simply don’t understand that, especially with my teens, since I’ve never strived to be fair with either one of them. I feel it’s my civic duty to show them you hardly ever get what’s coming to you unless it’s an unexpected tax bill or a clogged drain from doing your hair over the bathroom sink.

29 05 2012

Oh how I remember both the leaving home part and the sassy remarks. But ITE (“in today’s economy”), rest assured, THEY COME BACK, whether you like it or not. At least you seem to lose your ability to mortify and embarrass them a little bit every year, until by the time they have graduated from college, they actually LIKE you again. (At least they are better at acting like it.)

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

They have to be better at acting like the like you at that point. You’re paying the bills. But whatever the reason for their civility, I’ll take it! At that point I don’t care, as long as we’re all having normal conversations (um, whatever “normal” is).

29 05 2012

Thanks for the tips. I’m finding that the smart ass/sarcasm gene is inherent. As an older parent, I hope dementia doesn’t set in when I need to be on my game the most. Better start doing jumbo crossword puzzles and watching Seinfield reruns.

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I’m an older parent, too, and I feel that helps keep me on my toes. My second son definitely inherited my smart-mouth, which will probably serve him well as an adult (or not, if he doesn’t learn when he should keep his trap shut). But for now it’s like arguing with myself when we get into it, which helps me keep my smart-ass remarks up-to-date. Kind of like living in a comedy club with a 24/7 heckler.

29 05 2012

My oldest son is barely nine and I’m already crying at the thought of him leaving home! Who ARE these people who act like having their 30+ year old live in the basement is a bad thing?

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Just wait until he turns 13. You can almost see the fangs and claws grow as he blows out the candles on his birthday cake.

30 05 2012
Theresa Kasun

Love it! So I’m not being a bad parent when I tell them there is no “magic fairy that will come along and clean up your mess!” I love the fact that you validate my sarcasm with my 16 year old.

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I don’t know what parents would do without sarcasm in their child-rearing arsenal. I guess the alternative would be pills and alcohol, but I simply can’t afford one more addiction. Coffee and thrift-store shopping just about do me in already.

30 05 2012

excellent quips! My youngest daughter left and then came back. We even tried moving to a smaller house while she was living elsewhere and made it clear we were down-scaling. No luck, she is back. Dirty clothes and dishes everywhere, going home to try out some of your gems 🙂

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

They need a witness protection program for parents who don’t want to be found by their grown children. Hmmm…I smell another blog post coming on. Or better yet, a business opportunity!

30 05 2012

Great tips! We’re overusing #7 on my 15-year-old sister. I’ll have to send this post to my mom!

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Yes, Lynn, #7 seems to be the favorite of most parents. I think it’s because teens have this innate sense that everything has to be fair. And if that were the case why do I have to share a car with a 16-year-old who can’t even afford to fill the tank? (Don’t even get me started.)

31 05 2012
Dee Macaluso

My grown daughter and her two children are moving back in with us next month. I’m going to have the ’10 comebacks’ tattooed on their foreheads for easy reference. Why should I ink up my own skin?

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Make sure you tattoo them on their foreheads backwards so they can enjoy them every time they look into a mirror.

1 06 2012
Food Stories

Love your snappy comebacks 🙂

1 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks! They ought to be in a parenting handbook for parents of teens. Hmm…maybe I’ll write one. Destined to be a best-seller, I’m sure! 😉

3 06 2012
A hair disaster; A sick child and a Fire! « aparentinparis

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