As we all know, teenagers can sometimes be the worst human beings on the planet when it comes to good judgment. It’s just in their DNA and admittedly, I’m no exception. I did some bad things in my day. Who hasn’t? I’m not saying that I ever looted an electronics store or drowned bags of kittens in the river, but little stuff. Teenage stuff. I was not immune to the deception teenagers think they’re so good at and truly revel in.
At a recent family dinner, my Mom was telling a story about me having to do with an incident that happened when I was around 16 years old. My Great-Grandmother was extremely ill, so much so that my parents had to make the trip home to bring her up to our house. Being the wise parents that they are they didn’t trust me on my own (even though I had never gotten into any serious trouble) so they had my Great-Aunt come be my in-home warden.
Luckily I was still able to receive visitors. One day my friend Roberta came over to break me out so we could go horseback riding. My Great-Aunt asked, “Is this something your mother would let you do?” Without skipping a beat I said, “Oh yeahhh, Mom lets me do this all the time.” And off I went.
Well of course, if we’re being completely factual, it’s something my Mom wouldn’t let me do at all. And of course my Great-Aunt being a truthful warden, spilled the beans as soon as my Mom got home. I frankly cannot remember the punishment I received at the time. I doubt my mother remembers either.
Now when my Mom was telling this story at Easter dinner she was not only complaining about how I had lied, but I think she was also somewhat mocking the fact that up until that moment I had never been horseback riding before in my life. As an aside, the topic at dinner was the skill required to stay up on a horse. It’s not like this story of my teenage transgression involving horses just popped up out of nowhere. That would just be weird.
So anyway, as she finished her story, I had to let the truth be known. I figured that enough time had elapsed that the statute of limitations would surely fall into play. So, I told my Mom that that incident wasn’t exactly the first time I’d gone riding. In fact, I had been a bunch of times before that. In fact, Roberta and I went horse-back riding every chance we got. There was a place close to where I grew up that charged 20 bucks an hour so I rode pretty much every weekend I was in high school. Knowing what I know now, I realize those places that rent horses to all and sundry as if they’re ATVs instead of living, breathing creatures were and are horrendous, but as a teen I had no clue. Some things come with experience and I’m glad that I’m more aware now and know better.
Well…Mom did not like learning of this 31-year-old lie (it could qualify as a white lie…right? Right??). My Dad didn’t seem to mind too much and took my confession in stride (maybe because it all happened three decades ago and I never broke my leg or neck in the process). At first I thought it was absurd that someone could be mad over finding out about something that happened so long ago, but then I realized I can definitely understand my Mom’s side of it. If I found out my kids had lied to me, no matter how old they were or when the lie happened, I have no doubt I’d be upset. So for that Mom, I’m sorry. Truly.
This whole thing has taught me a valuable lesson however: I should keep my mouth shut about those little acts of teenage rebellion. With that in mind it’s probably better that she never know about the trips I took to DC to hit the jazz bars (also with Roberta…hmmm…I sense a trend here). I mean, my mother has ample material already. No need to give her more to shake her head over.