Wednesday, April 06, 2005

No Fear of Flying

mainegirl

Looks pretty innocent, doesn't she?

My parents fancied themselves to be just about the strictest ones around. I had absurd curfews ("be home at 9 o'clock!" when I was leaving the house at 7 pm, for example), rules about not riding in cars with boys...they even marked the liquor bottles when they were going to be gone for any length of time (by then, my friends and I were smoking pot and taking Qualuudes, so the liquor was of no interest to us. We just laughed when we saw the little pencil lines.)

As "strict" as they were, they were equally clueless. When this photo was taken, I had told them that I was spending the weekend with my friend Mary Beth who lived in Queens (about 10 minutes away). I was 16. Instead, Mary Beth drove me to LaGuardia Airport where I got on a plane (having never flown before) and rendezvous'd in Portland, Maine with a 28 year-old guy I had met at my part-time job in the city.

A few months later, my parents and I flew to Atlanta to visit my married sister as I feigned excitement and anxiety about getting on an airplane for the first time.

Needless to say, my antics as a teenager have in turn made me a very tuned-in parent (I would never have my kid spend the weekend at anyone's house without talking to a parent, for example). What it also did was teach me the importance of trust.

My parents began to accuse me of drinking and drugging and sexing at such a young age (around 12) that by the time I was 13-14 I figured I may as well be having some fun. After all, I was already in trouble! I had nothing to lose, and lots to live up to. With my own children, I have chosen to expect the best from them, trust them to make good choices, and catch them when they fall.

So far, so good. No one has left the state without my knowledge, anyway!