Have you read StrengthsFinder? Mom did. Which means I have. It’s pretty cool and incredibly interesting. It has determined 34 talent themes and helps you understand your top 5. It’s a management tool. I think its also a marriage and parenting tool. Among my top are the context, deliberative, analytical and strategic themes.
Let me summarize: I understand the present by researching its history. I take serious care in making decisions so as to anticipate and avoid obstacles. I naturally spot relevant patterns and issues, have the ability to understand multiple factors that can affect a situation and develop possible scenarios and solutions.
Now think about how those strengths play out while the girls enter their teen years.
I agree. Not well. The possible outcomes of many teen behaviors are not positive. And, if you ask my folks, I experienced a few of them. Letting the girls learn by doing isn’t always my first choice. So we’re slowly introducing independence.
Riley and her friend Hannah went to a movie Friday night. By themselves. They’re both 11. I was going to movies with friends sans parents in 1981 when I was eleven. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Still awesome.
Hannah is the youngest of three so her Mom has already been through this. She was already off to a different deal when Mom and Rye picked up Hannah for the movie – Soul Surfer. We had a good weekend by the way. Thanks for asking. Bailey had softball practice Friday so we took the opportunity to practice fielding and throwing with Rye and Kinz. Then Saturday and Sunday I was able to get both cars washed and vacuumed (there is a burgeoning colony of hair bands and crayons thriving in the third row of Mom’s car) and then I spent most of both days outside reseeding a portion of our yard and chopping wood. I have a freaking sweet firewood pile for this fall and winter. Some white pine in there, a little maple, ash and big chunks of river birch. My neighbor, when he’s not running his fleet of 3 limos, has a tree removal and stump grinding business. The man knows how to wield a chainsaw. Plus he has a trailer the size of a small barge so all the left over brush/crap left the yard too. Once that seed comes in, it’s going to look pretty awesome.
Anyway, I picked up my daughter from the movies on Friday night for the first time. I debated just pulling up alongside the exit like most of the other parents and waiting. That however requires deft timing and an absolute disregard for other movie goers and mall patrons. The theater is in the mall. Next to restaurants. So it’s a pretty active area on Fridays. Plus there is a hat store pretty close to the theaters. And they just received a shipment of throwback baseball hats – Brooklyn Dodgers, tri-color 70’s and 80’s Orioles, 70’s Braves (although I’m still not over the ’92 NLCS so nothing Braves for me), 80’s Brewers, Mike Schmidt-era Phillies, early 70’s Pirates. Still waiting on the mid-80’s Mariners and the orange Astros hats. So that means I decided to park, check out the hats, and wait.
Just an observation but the mall on Friday, especially any area which combines a food court and a movie theater, can be accurately and without exaggeration be described as hellish. It’s awful. Pre-driver’s license teen hell.
Seriously what’s with all the hugging? It’s been what? Three, maybe four hours tops, since these girls have seen each other? “Omigosh, I haven’t seen you since 3:00! Ahhhhhhh!”
You look around and the sheer number of them is disconcerting. Not really frightening because there is no way they can organize themselves into units capable of doing any major or sustained damage. But its just a bit unsettling. And I tried, I really did, not to have that look of complete disdain as I maneuvered my way through that range of mall territory that is sort of between the food court and the theater. But then you enter the food court. I know these teens have brains larger than ants but if you watch their traffic patterns you very quickly recognize something similar to watching ants travel and how these kids walk. Indistinguishable.
Which means if you need to work on your peripheral vision or planting and cutting in rush hour traffic skills, this isn’t a bad place to work on it.
Made it to the hat store but decided against getting that vintage Orioles hat. Deal breaker was it had “1988” stitched onto the back. Nothing against 1988, it was a good year. David Lee Roth came out with “Just like Paradise”, the Lakers beat the hated Pistons and we were introduced to Sexual Chocolate in Coming to America. But 1988 was also the year the Orioles started 0-21. I buy that hat and who knows what kind of loser karma starts rubbing off on the Steelers and/or Cyclones. I’m already a Pirates fan. I don’t need any help when it comes to bad karma.
So after a return dash through the nightmarish abyss of the teen-infested food court, all that was left to do was wait for the girls outside the theater. Without looking creepy. I was a little self-conscious that I might be the only Dad actually waiting inside the theater. Thankfully, I wasn’t. Evidently, it is not uncommon for Moms to use the theater as a Friday night babysitter while they shop. There is a waiting area with 6 or 7 tables and they almost all filled with Moms and Talbot’s bags. There was one other Dad who was there on pick up duty but I didn’t notice him until the movie let out because he was in the game room off to the side playing video games. Not a bad time killer. I followed the Pirates-Rockies game on my phone.
Turns out I’m not the only one who thinks teenagers are weird. Rye and Hannah came out, told me how good the movie was and then casually mentioned that teenagers are “just weird.”
“And, Dad, the girls behind us kept kicking our seats.”
“And texting. Geez, they had a message up before movie about not texting too.”
So at least Rye and Hannah are rule-followers and not rule-breakers…for now…
And before I forget – my top 3 songs from the spring of ’88:
1-Just Like Paradise
2-Nothing But a Good Time
3-Man in the Mirror