This is me at age 13. The same age my daughter will be in thirty five days. Holy cannoli. In just over a month my daughter will be a full fledged teenager.
When I was 13 years old, I was fairly certain I didn't yet have life by the tail but I was also equally certain that one day soon I would. Just as soon as I grew five more inches and my boobs filled out.
This is me, twenty years later at age 33. Today. This very moment. Well, okay, probably not by the time you read this, but you get the point.
As you can see, my boobs filled out. But I never did grow those five inches. I did manage to shoot up an extra two inches but sadly, I never did make the coveted supermodel height I was aspiring to.
I don't know if I have life by the tail, but I'm still equally certain that one day I will. Even if the only thing I have by the tail is a few dogs, a puppy and more cats than I can shake a stick at.
When I was 13 I didn't have a clear idea of where I'd be when I grew up but I knew one thing for certain. I was never having children.
There are days when I kick myself for not remembering my 13 year old self more often.
At age 13, there was one thing in life that was sweeter than ice cream. That sweetness was slumber parties. I never had many sleep overs at my own home, always preferring to escape my siblings and my parents by crashing on the floor at friends homes.
There just didn't seem to be anything better than eating someone else's food, sleeping under someone else's roof and watching television on someone else's television.
I only wish my children felt the same way.
No, instead my darling little imps prefer to herd the neighbourhood children into my yard, my house, my life and destroy the sanctity of peace I like to cultivate.
And because I am that mom, I seem powerless to stop them.
Somehow I've morphed into a pushover for puberty parties hosted at my house.
I feel it's my duty to warn all of you and remind myself what I obviously knew as a 13 year old child: Sleep overs are evil. Unless they're done at some other schmuck's house.
Sure your children are cute. They fill your heart with love every time they slather their slimy little kisses on your cheek or wrap their dirty little arms around your neck and whisper how much they love and adore you.
But then they grow up and meet other people's not so cute children and they befriend them.
That's when the trouble starts. Because it is then they start insisting on batting their big baby blue eyes at you and begging you to let their friends come over and in a moment of stupidity weakness you cave.
Those cute children you've been raising? They are not so cute when they are surrounded by other people's children. No, they morph into like-minded monsters, preying on your sanity like a pack of hyenas preys on a lone antelope.
Sure they try and butter you up by announcing to their friends that you are the best mom in the world. Sure their friends (upon seeing a breach in your defence) are quick to pat you on the back and whisper words of how you are the coolest mom in the neighbourhood.
It's all a PLOY people.
A ploy to drive you to distraction so you will cave. These pubescent children have smelled blood and like vampires, will glamour you into believing what they say is the truth; all so you will drive to the grocery store and spend a small fortune on food that isn't fit for human consumption.
While they are cramming fists full of chips and cheetos and swigging down gallons of orange pop they will say cute things to amuse you. Don't listen. Don't get charmed into thinking these people, children of other peoples, are good.
They're harbingers of evil.
Soon it will be dark and like the creatures of the night they will rise just as you are yawning and dreaming of pillows and down comforters. They will bring your children over to the dark side as you helplessly watch your children transform before your very eyes.
Filled with empty calories and the adrenalin of happiness they will bounce off your walls, your furniture, your sanity until you find yourself pleading with them for a single moment of silence.
You will do the unthinkable and agree to let them watch inappropriate movies all in a desperate bid to get them to quiet down and sit still. Every parenting skill you have accumulated and stock piled will be thrown aside as you attempt to conquer these savages you once recognized as flesh of your flesh.
Then, when you think the situation is firmly in hand and under control, you will turn your back on the pack, say your good nights and retire to the peaceful sanctity of your room to await for slumber to erase the pain of the night and for dawn to return and restore your parental powers once again.
You'll be lulled asleep by the soft murmurs of their whispers, content with the knowledge that once again you put your children's happiness before your own and created yet another childhood memory to their collection.
That's what they want.
They wait for that very moment. And once they are assured you have drifted off to the land of Nod, they will pounce.
You will be woken up to the shrill sounds of squeals and laughter as these creatures of darkness run around your lawn at two in the morning playing a rousing game of tag. You will be forced to rise from the warmth of your own bed and shrug into a cold robe and stand on a cold damp deck and bellow at them to get their arses back into bed before someone gets hurt.
They will file in with angelic faces and their false apologies and your heart will feel pangs of guilt for harshing their buzz but they will once more settle in for the night so that you canÂ return to your now chilly bed and pray for peace once more.
And just as you nod off you will awake to the sounds of splashing and whispered laughter and the quiet worried hushes of a preteen child you thought you knew so well as she announces, "Shhh. You'll wake up Mom!"
No good ever comes from that sentence.
Once again you will find yourself out in the dark of the night, on a dew filled deck, only this time sleep has taken with it your sanity and your good sense and you will find yourself telling the children swimming out in the pool at three am to knock it off and pipe down.
You are no longer concerned about safety. You no longer care if their growing bodies get the rest they need to stay strong and healthy.
These imps of pop culture and sugar have sapped your strength and you will find yourself grudgingly climbing back into bed for the third time that night only to find yourself wide awake as you listen to the splashing and laughter and cries of "Marco!" "Polo!"
Suddenly quiet will fallÂ and you will breathe a sigh of relief as you falsly convince yourself the unending energy of these creatures has finally tapped out.
It's about then, that very moment, you will hear the snickers as these children you no longer recognize stand beneath your bedroom window and make ghost sounds to try to scare you.
"Whooooo. I am a verrrry scarrrrry ghoooost out toooo geet your sooooouul."
This will continue until you are forced to threaten to beat them senseless withÂ a pillow if they don't leave you alone and let you sleep.
At this point, they are so out of control they can't even help themselves from the evil that is within them.
Eventually sleep will claim you, although it will be fitful and worrisome. You will be plagued by nightmares of waking up to find your child standing above you holding an axe as their friends chant softly "Do it, do it, do it" behind them.
Finally dawn will break and you will rise with optimism fresh in your heart. You survived, you think. Just a few more hours and soon your house will be yours once more.
It's then that these children go in for the kill, reaching for your soft underbelly of weakness and drive the knife of preteen power deep within you.
You will wake to find they will have robbed your pantry, emptied your cupboards and left them barren. And as they gleefully consume the last remains of all your food you will stand in front of the refrigerator and weep silently as you try to pour yourself a glass of juice only to find they have drained the jug down to the last drop and put the empty container back in the fridge.
You'll hear soft whimpers of surrender coming from your lips as you give up and hand over any semblance of dignity and sanity to the pack of pubescent people standing around you.
Tell yourself this is the price you must pay for once being a 13 year old who tormented parents around the neighbourhood.
Remember this people:
Packs of preteens should be avoided at all costs.
Sleep overs are EVIL.
Unless they are at someone else's house.
Words to live by.
Consider yourself duly warned.
I obviously knew this as a 13 year old child. Which is why I seldom inflicted this torture on my own parents. Because I was a good child.
Apparently the apples have fallen far from this tree and my children just aren't as smart as I was when I was their age.