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Family Time
Sunday, Sept. 07, 2003, 6:44 p.m.

QUESTION: Wanna hang out with me?

WHAT I LEARNED: Parents are people too.

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My husband may have a slightly unrealistic expectations regarding life with teenagers and how that whole things works. He has this idea, for instance, that the kids' idea of big day over the weekend would consist of waiting around until dad feels like doing something he thinks would be a nice family activity - his first suggestion today was walking around the mall (enough said). Once having pronounced a suitable activity I believe he thinks that our offspring will exclaim - hurray, father - in breathless voices as they jumping up and down with the excitment of it all. Then we would quickly tidy up our immaculate home, link arms, and all skip out the door to begin enjoying our family togetherness time. Awesome - let's spend our time this weekend with dear old mom and dad. Perhaps in an alternate universe...

In reality, the kids idea of a great weekend is sleeping late, not doing any chores or task except those related to mantaining their social life, idly watching the television while taking phone calls on the side, IMing their pals on the computer, snacking, hanging out with their friends, and of course borrowing cash in small enough amounts so as to sooth their parents into thinking that teenage spending is at a reasonable level.

It's hard being the parent of teenagers and to realize that you - the one who used to be the center of your kid's world and the person with whom they most wanted to spend time - are now left standing around waiting for a empty space in their busy schedule and damned glad to get it.

For instance, in my pursuit of time with my teenagers over the last week alone, I had to watch Junkyard Wars, which makes my eyes twitch, surf for cool used cars on the web when I don't care to look for any kind of car right now, and been subjected to an seemingly unending stream of what might have been punk music cranked up so loud that talking was an impossibility while traveling in my daughter's car to get a coffee. All of this has been undertaken for the express purpose of spending some time with my precious son and daughter respectively. I know it's pretty lean pickings but still, a parent's gotta do what a parent's gotta do and I did get the sofa during Junkyard Wars and a cup of coffee with the maxie-volume car ride.

Who knows what cool things we could be doing together next week. I could be driving kids to the bowling alley, watching reruns of Disney sitcoms, or even hosting a crazy sleepover. The possibilities are endless. I can hardly wait.

Today’s Suburban Strategy: Humorous or not humorous...everyone's got an opinion.

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