As far as parents go, I consider myself pretty lucky. I know a lot of people who had varying degrees of parental weirdness, from early curfews, to not being allowed to get a driver’s license, and all the way to attending Bible study camps in the summer in lieu of a vacation.
I remember it well. Eminem was blowing up and the Marshall Mathers LP was released. I was, like, 12 and it was all the rage. Many of my peers weren’t allowed to have the uncensored version but my mom went out and bought it for me because, “You know the words anyway and we know you’ll get it without our permission.” Later that year, the Mark, Tom and Travis Show came out and a similar situation happened.
As I got older, high school parties became a thing. Three cases of Coors usually lasted all night. They never stopped me because they were of the mindset, “It was legal when we were in high school and we drank. It would be unfair to not let you.” I was lucky my parents and my friend’s parents were decent people. We would have parties, often with those I played hockey with as we were a tightknit group. The keys would be taken and people would stay the night. The problem is, a lot of people don’t have this and they go bananas when they go off to college. By the time I got to college, alcohol was already normalized and while I was drunk often, I knew my limits and how to behave under the influence.
Everyone knew those crazy, neurotic parents; hell some of you may have been raised by them. My parents always had a call policy, regardless of time and place, and if we drank too much, they would come get us. They also had this for my uncle, who was 20 years younger than my mother, so often through my childhood my uncle was on our downstairs couch hungover as fuck.
Even before college, my parents always offered to drink or smoke pot with me. I dabbled a bit but seeing them want to do it made me really reconsider the allure because if they did it, my inner rebellious teenage mind thought that it couldn’t be that cool anyway. They figured it’d be safer than if I went elsewhere and to be honest, my parents confessed later to it being a sort of reverse psychology.
These days, the laissez-faire parental model doesn’t seem to be the norm. More often, I see helicopter parents and those with a siege mentality. Every industrial van or ice cream truck is out to kidnap and everything is wrapped in bubble wrap. Oh, and speaking of wrap, my good ole mom offered to buy me condoms (not that I needed them in high school) to avoid any potential embarrassment (maybe Mrs. Duda should have offered this service to you).
As I got older, my parents became more like friends than parents. Even from a young age, my household was much like the Atticus Finch model as my parents were referred to by their first names. It wasn’t a rule or anything, it just kinda happened that way. They visited me at college and partied, emptying a handle of vodka between them and a few friends (they did take a quick pregame nap in my dad’s Man Van) but they rallied and cheered with the best of the fans.
In the end, they did the best they could and that’s all that anyone could ask. Parents are a strange concept: they raise you to grow up, yell at you when you act like them (where do you think the attitudes came from?), and send you off, only to be where they started. I’m not one for kids but if I ever have any and became half the parent mine were, I’d consider myself a resounding success. Even though my dad’s been gone for about three years now, I still make an effort to honor his memory and be the best person I can be. Hug your parents, call them and tell them you love them. It’s sometimes hard for me to get that across but one day, you’ll be all alone, a real orphan in this world and you’ll wish every day you could talk just once more.
Thanks for everything, mom and dad..