In the grand scheme of having a teenager, I have been pretty lucky thus far. Gabby is wise in a way that I totally wasn't at that age and is funny and smart. Sure, she does some strange things ("forgetting" to turn in practice logs for her guitar class, even though she actually practiced and did the work), but overall, I couldn't be happier with her burgeoning teenage years.
This past Friday, Gabby's world was completely turned upside down when My Chemical Romance broke up. MCR is/was Gabby's favorite band, and her closet is dotted with t-shirts and hoodies and fingerless gloves (?) and wristbands (??). Since their demise, she has been very nearly inconsolable. Part of this is that it sucks when something happens to your favorite band--I know this because my favorite band growing up was The Smashing Pumpkins, and well, Billy Corgan's personality is kinda....off-putting?....and there was a constant sense of misadventure in them and their various projects. So all these emotions are just too obvious to me--growing up is a minefield of throwing yourself into other things and other people that ultimately go asunder. But in a way, Gabby had used MCR (and her MCR fandom) as a way of dealing with our moving and her parents' (READ: MY) divorce. Through the band, she found ready-made feelings and a ready-made community of other teenagers who wanted to experience those ready-made emotions. So I got it. I indulged her sulking, I bought her favorite cookies at the store, and I smiled weakly and turned out the light when she fell asleep, clutching her iPod while reading Gerard Way's 2200 word (rambling, self indulgent) missive for the 3rd time.
Gabby was still smarting from the loss last night when we sat down to dinner. And truthfully, we were all tired. My son, Sam, has just started tae kwon do, which I am incredibly excited about, but which takes our evenings 2-3 days a week. Last night, I came home from work and pick-ups with just enough time to pull a chuck roast out of the slow cooker, shred it and set out my ingredients to make the shredded beef tacos for dinner before heading back out to tae kwon do with younger children in tow. E showed up at the studio to pick up Alice (after his 10 hour day and 1 hour commute), but ended up staying to watch Sam do his kicking combination (and get his kicking stripe--WUT WUT). By the time we sat down, we were all flagging. Frankly, I was pretty upset that I was still wearing pants and a bra because there comes a certain time of day when I want neither of those things on my body. This made for a pretty quiet dinner time. Lots of chewing. Lots of thoughtful chewing.
And then, out of nowhere, Gabby farts. I'm sorry if you don't use that term in your house, but that's what she did. I grew up with a father who spent the major part of my childhood asking me to pull his finger, so I am ok with farting. You don't really need to guild the lily on that one, folks. It is what it is. So Gabby farts and E and I just look at each other. The muted green in his eyes that had been covered by sleepy eyelids danced a little. I snorted, almost choking on my taco. And we all started to laugh.
It started out as just your normal giggles. But then pretty soon, we are full on laughing, the three of us, and Sam is yelling, "WHAT?!?! SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT SHE SAID" because Sam is always kind of left out of something. Which made us laugh more. Alice starts just laughing for the sheer joy of laughing and before we know it, she is inexplicably dancing beside her chair. And we laugh. Even though we are tired, even though My Chemical Romance is no more, even through disastrous first marriages and depleted savings accounts and empty bottles of Grey Goose and Jeff Buckley songs, we laugh.
I want to say that life is like a sitcom and that this just broke Gabby free and today she awoke and tossed her hair around and became a new girl, able to put MCR behind her. That didn't happen. She spent a good part of last night in her beanbag, clutching the iPod, still wearing her MCR hoodie. But when I went to bed last night and put my head in her room, there was a bit more life in her eyes and she giggled easily when I almost dropped my glasses and accidentally flipped her off. YES I FLIPPED MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER OFF. In fact, I did it a lot when I figured out it would make her smile. Cause I'm that mom. Sucker for a cheap laugh.
But last night, as I finally took my pants off and cursed the maker of the underwire for one more day, I reminded myself of a simple truth: Sometimes you just need to fart.