Parenteen, Part One
Dads have triggers, too.
I've told the 16-year-old to—oh, just say, stop texting with her friends and focus on her homework, say—and the theatrically mystified look comes over the face, and the mouth opens and these words come out:
"What are you talking about?"
Parenteen, Part Two
The other Saturday morning I picked up the 16-year-old from a sleepover way up on the North Side. She was driving us home, down Western Avenue.
She was tired, and we were quiet.
And suddenly it popped into my head to say, "You know, don't you, that I love you just as much now that you're a complicated teenager as I did when you were a simple, pure-hearted little kid?"
She said, "That can't possibly be."
And, after I nodded that indeed it was, she looked through the windshield into the middle distance, trying to fathom how.