J.R Reed discusses his less than fond memories of High School and how that affects his anxiety over raising a teenage daughter.
I need to go find a way to accomplish that. Somehow.
Yes. That’s me in 1984. I’m not sure where to start mocking myself. Is it the hair? The glasses? How about that shitty wanna be porn ‘stache I was trying to grow? Maybe the fact that I was 6 ft 180 pounds and a stick? Just don’t mock the pink oxford and argyle vest. If you do, we’re gonna have a situation. Just be happy that you can’t see the navy and creme colored saddle shoes I was wearing. I will happily join you in mocking them.
Tomorrow my daughter is supposed to play her violin at Disneyland. But she’s not. Let me explain….
Drama Queen’s high school orchestra was invited to play at Disneyland and when I found out about this a couple months ago, I was very excited. So was she. But not anymore. Why? Daddy pulled the plug on the Happiest Place on Earth. Why did I pull the plug? School.
Before Christmas break I sat down with my daughter (a freshman) and my mom to discuss her grades. She’s doing really well in most subjects, but is having some difficulty in English and Biology. Both classes are easy fixes and it’s really just a matter of putting in the right amount of effort, but she apparently didn’t want to go bad bad enough. Because of that, last night I told her I was pulling her from the all day trip to Disneyland.
I’m bummed that I had to do it, but I don’t have second thoughts. I know I did the right thing. She needs to learn that everything has a price. Of sorts. Anything good in life costs something and it’s not always about dollars and cents. The stuff that really matters is paid for with something far more precious than the almighty buck. It’s paid for with effort, commitment and desire.
I see a lot of my high school self in my daughter and quite frankly it scares the crap out of me. I didn’t like high school much because I felt like I never fit in. I was the preppy dude rockin the argyle like a mo-fo, but I didn’t fit in. I’m kinda pimp now, but I wasn’t like that in the 80′s. Really.
I felt socially awkward in high school and was made fun of. A lot. I know the guys who made fun of me are complete tools, but somehow that didn’t help much at the time. I had no self esteem and I was so sick of hearing the word “potential” that I do my best not to use it on my daughter.
My high school years were filled with getting blown off by people and listening to my classmates tell stories about the awesome parties they went to and the fun things they did as a group. I rarely dated because I was sure the girls would say no. I never experienced a swirly or got stuffed in a trash can, so I have that going for me. Through the magic of reconnecting with a lot of my former classmates I found out that had I only asked, a lot of the girls would have gone out with me. That’s info I needed 25 years ago. Oh well.
Don’t think I was a friendless loser, because that’s not the case. I mean, I felt like a huge loser, but I had some great friends. I don’t talk with them as often as I should, but I still consider them to be friends and I’m fairly sure they consider me one.
I want Drama Queen to enjoy her high school years and to have more fun than I did. I’m not saying I want her to be one of the ‘popular kids”, because I don’t. I’ve never pushed my daughter to be popular or the best at anything. All I ask her for is effort. That’s it. I just want her to be able to relax, enjoy these years, get good grades, and get better at tennis so she can get a scholarship and save me a few bucks.
I really took notice of Drama Queen’s stress last week and it started bringing back a ton of memories. Most of those memories sucked and I remembered the stress and worry I constantly felt in my teen years. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’ve lived more than 30 of my 46 years carrying a ton of stress and that way of life is getting passed to Her Majesty. I don’t want that for her or for me.
I’ve been making a conscious effort to try and relax more. I
tend to constantly worry about stuff I have no control over and I know it’s not healthy and that I should stop, but for some reason, I don’t. At night I can’t get my brain to slow down or shut off and it kills me to think that my daughter may be doing the same thing. I need to stop this not only for my health, but to make sure my daughter has a long, happy life.
I told Drama Queen that missing a full day at Disneyland so she could stay at school is a “Life Lesson” and she understood. I asked her how many people (relative to the entire population of the world) get to perform at Disneyland even once and she said, “Not many.” My daughter took it well and didn’t argue with me. She completely understands that the reason she’s not going is all on her and that I gave her every opportunity to go. For that I’m both happy and proud.
Now I’m faced with a dilemma. I’ve spent several years trying to deal with my stress and to find a way to relax and I haven’t been successful. Now I have to figure out how to take my daughter, whom I love a lot, and help guide her towards the path of a happy, stress free, worry free life. I don’t suppose Mapquest can get me there, can it? I didn’t think so.
I guess I’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way and figure it out for myself. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go come up with a plan to accomplish that. Somehow.
Originally appeared at Sex and the Single Dad.