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Teenage Daughters

Illustration by Michael Rushbrook

She bounces into the kitchen wearing a smile and bunny ears. The bunny ears don’t get my attention but the smile nearly causes me to drop my coffee. Maddy hugs me, grabs her backpack and practically waltzes through the garage to her car.

I watch her back down the driveway with her stereo blasting country singer Martina McBride:

“They’re beautiful, wild and free…everything we wish we could be.
BUT THEY’RE STILL CRAZY, oh they make us crazy!!”

It’s the start of Senior Week, something that’s a really big deal at her high school because there are different themes each day, all leading up to prom.

That four-letter word really can test a relationship, not to mention a mother’s patience. Any input from me is met with rolled eyes or a phony, “Good idea, thanks.”

So, Maddy tried on prom dresses for weeks…I wasn’t invited on these excursions, but I got the occasional text with a picture of a “fave.”  

When she thought an actual purchase would transpire she’d ask me to meet her at a dressing room somewhere…somewhere that I would inevitably say the wrong thing or not react with the proper enthusiasm. 

You know what it feels like when you’re in a “can’t win” situation?  I live there.

When it came down to the wire, Maddy took me to a boutique to watch her try on about 10 dresses that didn’t fit—and the ones that did fit were twice as much as I wanted to pay. (Hasn’t she learned anything from “Say Yes to the Dress?” Never try on the ones that bust the bank—don’t do it!)

She finally found the right dress...after dismissing my picks with, “And where would I wear this?” or “It looks like you, mom. It’s so old lady.”

This old lady thinks Martina nailed it:

"She rolls her eyes when I’m funny,
But she’s sweet when she wants money—and her freedom
It’s like it happened overnight,
We’re always wrong they’re always right.
We used to the ones breaking the rules
Now we’re just mothers, we’re just fathers…of teenage daughters!"

JENNIE Montgomery anchors the evening news at WJBF-TV. She’s married to Scott and they have three children: Zack, 19, Maddy, 17, and Sky, 16.

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