Oh my gawd. I forgot what it’s like to live with a teenager. But after this weekend, I definitely remember. My daughter, Gracie, has lived on her own for the past two years here in Paris while she is attending college. I never wanted her to have her own apartment because I enjoy suffocating her with love. However, she couldn’t leave fast enough in her eyes. Her first year of college she rented a tiny studio and lived on her own and for her second year of college she found a bigger apartment that she shared with a roommate. Now, here we are, coming up to her third year of college and she has decided to take a one bedroom on her own. Yeah! Not so fast… She has decided to move into our apartment for the summer before her lease starts in the fall. When she told me that she would like to stay with us over the summer I was ecstatic… Until she moved in this past weekend.
I wanted to have everything perfect for her. I got the guestroom all ready for my darling… New white linen headboard, two modern acrylic nesting bedside tables, glass lamps with white linen lampshades, a white linen bergère chair, white linen curtains. I thought the white would perfectly offset the 19th-century point de Hongrie hardwood floors, the black marble fireplace and the circa 1850 mantle mirror. A little modern with the old. Everything was ordered, delivered and set up for her arrival.
My next project was to order every single thing that she loves at the grocery store. There was a two-page list and everything was delivered the day before her arrival… American cheddar cheese, tortillas, cookie dough, pancake batter, salsa, lemonade, avocados for her favorite breakfast toast, bananas for her favorite banana bread, her favorite peas in the can because she doesn’t like fresh or frozen, barbecue sauce, hamburger buns, organic chicken breast… Basically everything that an American teenager needs to survive.
Her favorite pink peony flowers were arranged in a silver mercury glass vase in her room next to her favorite candle.
We were ready for her arrival.
Let me preface this story by reminding all of you mothers that you would all do the same thing for your daughters. We are here to please. Our happiness is our daughter’s happiness. I would give Gracie the shirt off of my back (which I have). There is no love like a mother’s love. When Gracie calls me on the telephone, I literally get butterflies because I’m so excited to talk to her even though I probably talked to her two hours before. To say that I suffocate, helicopter parent and spoil my child is an understatement and guess what? I don’t care. Don’t forget, I have the extra worry that I might not be here for much longer so I have to cram all of my love into each day in fear of the fact that there might not be many more days. ALS is fun like that. So, needless to say, having my daughter in my apartment on a daily basis right now is a gift. Or is it?
The hurricane arrived at 3 PM. She rang our doorbell and my husband answered the door and sweetly said, “Welcome home, darling.” Her response? “Did mom make you say that?”
Her immediate attitude set the tone of the weekend and we knew we were in for a treat. Here’s a little sampling of how the weekend progressed…
“Mom, I hate that headboard.”
“Mom, where’s the rug? You said you ordered a rug.”
“Mom, I want my own area in the refrigerator.”
“Mom, I only like light pink peonies… Not dark pink.”
“No, I cannot go to the garden with you for a walk. I’m here but not here.”
“Mom, just because you are a part-time vegetarian, doesn’t mean the rest of us are. Buy some beef!”
And then, Chickengate happened. I ordered Gracie €12 organic chicken breast from the market and I used it to make her favorite homemade grilled chicken Caesar salad… Marinated the chicken, made homemade croutons, chopped up the romaine lettuce just how she likes it, made homemade Caesar dressing just the way she likes it with only one anchovy, one garlic, easy on the lemon, shaved, not shredded Parmesan and a creamy sauce. She loved it and ate a giant plate of it with a Coca-Cola in my bed watching her favorite reality show #RichKidsOfBeverlyHills.
The next morning she woke up around noon and proceeded to make herself a breakfast burrito and left all the dishes in the sink. Lunch time rolled around and she marched into my bedroom and asked, “Where’s the chicken?” I explained to her that I had already used the chicken for her Caesar salad. All hell broke loose.…
“Mom, you know I need to have chicken in the refrigerator at all times. It’s what I use to make every meal.”
“Gracie, I used the chicken for your Caesar salad.”
“Mom! I had a whole week of meals planned with chicken! Barbecue chicken burgers, chicken nachos, grilled chicken sandwiches… Now what am I going to do!!!???!!!
“Gracie, just go across the street to the market and buy more chicken.”
“Mom! I don’t have time for that. Now my whole week it is ruined. Ruined!”
Gracie mentioned the chicken or the lack thereof about 400 times over the weekend. My husband asked, “Are we still talking about the chicken?” Sadly the answer was yes, we are still talking about the chicken.
We were barely over the chicken debacle when L’Oreal Hell started. Gracie had asked me to buy her a box of L’Oreal hair color because she was going to color/lighten her hair herself.
“Gracie, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. You should go to a salon and have it done professionally.”
“Mom! I know what I’m doing!”
Flash forward to one hour later and my daughter has a head of orange hair and is in near tears.
“Mom! Look at me! What am I going to do? I have to go to a salon to have them fix it. Can I borrow €120?”
Gracie spent the next six hours googling which salon in Paris would be the most competent with color correction. She said she only wanted an American hairdresser who spoke English so she could explain the situation because this was “serious.”
It was Sunday so I asked Grace if she would go over to my favorite little church with me to light a candle.
“Mom! I can’t go out of the house like this!”
“Gracie, you can borrow one of my hats.”
“Mom! I hate all of your hats and I’m really depressed because there’s no chicken in the house.”
So, Gracie spent the rest of the weekend huffing and puffing, complaining that I don’t know how to shop at the grocery store, that my towels weren’t absorbent enough, that the house was too cold, that she would be “unavailable” all of July, that she needed my husband to go with her to a lip plumping consultation, that our shower didn’t have enough pressure, that she needed special ingredients to make a homemade leg waxing concoction, and for God sake why didn’t I buy crème fraîche at the market because I should know that she loves crème fraîche!
This little darling also gave us a list of To Do’s including transfer her bank account to a Paris branch, not the boondocks of Annecy and to stop looking at her so much.
Half of her suitcases are still open in the entry hall. Next to her suitcase is a toaster oven, a blender and a waffle iron… All of which Gracie expects me to find a home for. She cannot unpack anymore because she is “exhausted.” She also demanded to know what our cable package was and the speed of our Internet server.
The good news is that with Gracie moving back in with us, I have retrieved my camel colored peacoat, my Yves St. Laurent bracelet, my favorite Rose perfume, my suede jacket and a host of other articles that I did not know were missing.
It has been an emotional weekend with raging hormones, attitude, sassiness, judgment and an overall air of disgust. It’s clear… She finds us incompetent, nosy, full of unwarranted advice, annoying and for lack of a polite word… Stupid.
If you do not have teenage daughters and you would like to know what it’s like, check out my blog titled, “Living with Teenage Daughters is Like Living with the Taliban” HERE.
No matter what Gracie throws at me, I am just grateful that I can see her sparkly blue eyes, her rosy cheeks, her pink little lips and hear her angelic voice… through all the bitchiness. I am grateful that I am the first person she calls with good news or bad news. I am grateful that she asks my opinion even if she doesn’t take my advice. I am grateful that she does regard my sincere wishes for her to not get a tattoo, finish college, not move in with her boyfriend, speak French fluently, work towards a career so she is financially independent and can make her own choices, write thank you letters and try to be a decent human being. My husband is just grateful that Gracie hasn’t euthanized me. All we can do is laugh and know that this too shall pass.… When she moves out.
*Something you don’t know about me? I am so happy that my petite “smalls” sale went well. I’m so glad that you all liked everything. I really tried hard to offer something unique and très French with a range of price points. I would like to thank all of you for your kindness, sweet words and generosity. I am feverishly wrapping everything and getting it ready for shipment. The good news is that there was a fantastic fleamarket in the Marais quarter that my husband took me to over the weekend and I found some great items for the shop that I will post soon. Stay tuned…