Parents Should Be Seen, Not Heard

This week, for Write on Edge, the editors asked us to write a memoir detailing a moment in which some aspect of linguistics or dialect played a prominent role. I am continually amazed at how open the kids in my carpool always are, as if I wasn’t even there. It certainly gives me a better glimpse of my children’s lives. The word limit was 400.

The smell of chlorine and two teenaged bodies trickled into the car.

“So what happened after he got caught smokin’ again?” asked The Tortoise.

“He was expelled, ” answered her team mate, buckling his seat belt.

“I feel kinda bad for him,” she replied.

“Why?” he asked, “He was always in trouble. I heard he took drugs too.”

“cuz his mom isn’t nice to him. I heard he tried to live with his Grandma, but she didn’t want him either.”

“That does suck, but he still has to make his own choices.”

“Yeah, I guess. It’s just hard to make the right choices when you don’t have people who care about you in your life. Maybe he needs better friends.”

“Duh,” replied her friend, “but who? I mean, I wasn’t gonna be his friend ‘cuz people might think I make bad choices too.”

“True. Hey, did you notice what “so-and-so” was wearing today?”

“Oh my gawd, who didn’t notice?!” he exclaimed.

“I can’t believe teachers don’t send her home, it’s crazy her boobs hang out like that.”

“Boobs? What about those tight pants?” he added, “but there’s huger problems than her clothes.”

“Well, duh. She claims to be prego every month!”

“Yeah, and “so-and-so” wanted to be her friend.  I warned him that she might claim the baby’s his!”

Headlights revealed an open garage as I pulled into the driveway.

“Who’s she saying she’s having sex with?” I asked, putting the car into park.

“OH MOM!” squealed The Tortoise, “Did you just say the word SEX?”

Her friend started giggling as he opened the car door.

“Ya know you have to have SEX to get pregnant, right?” he teased.

“YES! I KNOW!” she shrieked again.

The garage door shut as we watched him disappear into the house.

“Just great, ” The Tortoise huffed, “Now he’s gonna tell everyone my mom talks about sex during carpool.”

“You guys brought it up, ” I laughed, “and it’s not like I was passing out condoms.”

“Yeah,” she said quietly. “I guess it’s cool my friends feel comfortable enough to talk about this stuff in front of you.”

“I think so – but most of all, I’m just glad you feel comfortable enough to talk to me about this stuff.”

11 thoughts on “Parents Should Be Seen, Not Heard

  1. It flows so perfectly. It’s exactly how teenagers talk.

    And I plan on buying a mini-van JUST so I can be the carpool mom. I would rather hear it than be out of the loop.

    So, Kudos to you!

  2. Love how they freaked out when you mentioned sex. Such perfect teenagers. And I love how you brought their slang into our world. Thanks for this!

    And now I’m totally terrified about my kids growing up.

  3. It’s a real challenge to keep the communication flowing between the generations and you clearly do such a great job of it. Love the dialogue, so envious of those who make it seem so easy to write! 🙂

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