Happy Birthday to Me (Or, Ode to a Favorite Daughter)

Yesterday (Tuesday) was my birthday, and I spent it in the very enjoyable company of my daughter, Sarah.

Sarah is 15 years old. Yep, she’s in those…gasp...teenage years where they are all supposed to be sullen, shutting out their parents or siblings and spending all their time texting on their smartphones, full of teenage angst.

Well, I’m here to tell you that not all teenagers are like that.

I’m quite proud to say that Sarah enjoys my company and likes spending time with me as much as I like spending time with her. We’re weird like that.  I guess it’s because we have so much in common – we always have had.

We share a love of…wait for it…Marvel Comics.  I know. Big shock to those of you who follow this blog.  In fact, I think Sarah loves them more than I do. She knows the backstories of the comics better than I do. She goes for the misunderstood anti-hero more than the hero, like Bucky Barnes (in The Winter Soldier) and Deadpool – I think because it’s the empathy and compassion in her coming out along with the badass side of her. A great combo if you ask me. Then again, Loki’s my favorite so I guess I’m somewhat of a bad influence.

We love going to the movies together and chowing down on popcorn and drinking pop – the whole movie experience. We go every chance we get. Big Hero Six, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, we love them all.

Sarah is smart (as a matter of fact she is extremely smart, she’s college material already — she’ll start dual enrollment next school year), but more than that, and much more importantly, she’s a good person.

Sarah is tolerant of all people. Well, she’s intolerant sometimes, a lot of times actually – she’s intolerant of those who would belittle someone for their looks, their race, their mental capacity, their gender orientation, or things of that nature. She has a very short temper in that regard. She despises stupidity and ignorance and human cruelty and conservative mindsets. Like me, she hates hunting and animal cruelty in all forms.

She hates the abuse of authority by our government and our police when it manifests itself, but having said that, she also respects the ideals behind our government and our police force – what these institutions are supposed to be.

On top of this, she has an amazing sarcastic and witty sense of humor. It usually comes out in her writing. Not sure where she gets that from.

I was thinking of all this today while I was spending time with my daughter.

I thought of all those parents out there – hopefully not as many as I think there are – that don’t want to spend any time with their kids, or worse, want to spend time with their kids but their kids don’t want to spend time with them. (Think Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” – what a sad song that is.)

Do the teenage years have to be so bad and stressful for teens and parents alike?

Can some of this stress be alleviated by finding things in common with your kids from a very young age and maintaining those traditions – playing chess or Scrabble after a sit-down dinner every night, sharing comic books, going to the movies every weekend… talking frankly about the world and its dangers…philosophy, books, and common interests?

Of course I know I’m lucky with Sarah… as a parent I certainly helped in her development but she also has evolved into a good kid on her own!

Have a talk with your kids today, why don’t you? Better yet…buy them a Deadpool or Captain America comic book!


29 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me (Or, Ode to a Favorite Daughter)

  1. Glad to know you and your daughter have a close relationship in her teens. It is true that most teens tend to drift away from their parents, but it is good to see that it isn’t true in all cases. I am somewhat surprise to hear that you both are avid comic book readers …so am I.

  2. I’m sure that in many cases, “problem teenagers” should really be labeled “problem parents”. In both my relationship as a teen with my parents and my relationship with my own teenaged children, there was a close and cordial relationship. We shared common interests, and enjoyed each other’s companionship. That closeness continues today even though my mother is in her nineties, and our children are in or approaching their forties.

    • I think you’re very right about that! My son and I also have a very close relationship and we too share many of the same interests (he too is a Marvel Comics/Doctor Who/Star Trek/Serenity fan and he’s very much into philosophy, all of which we discuss at great length). So I do think parenting style has a lot to do with it. I’m blessed that my kids both turned out really well. They’re good kids.

      I think it’s great that you have that close relationship with your Mom and your own children. Some kids have a good relationship with their parents once they are grown, but I don’t see why you can’t have one with them while they’re still children and simply cultivate it throughout their lives. It’s possible to enjoy your children and still parent responsibly.

  3. Happy Birthday (belated, of course– let a brother know next time :-D)

    I think comics, especially Marvel, helped me understand sarcasm and it’s potential uses, in literature and daily communication alike.

    Cheers and GREAT POST !

  4. Happy Birthday! 🙂 It so good to see you have such a great relationship with your children, I think you’re a good mother and I wish every parent would be like that! And as ususal, it’s a great post!

  5. You are so blessed. I was fortunate too. Both my children were good teens and have grown up to become wonderful adults.

    • We are both fortunate as parents. I’m very proud of who both my children have become. They are both kind, compassionate and good people. I figure my daughter will be a force to be reckoned with when she is grown, she certainly knows her own mind (again, not sure where she gets that from, no one else I know is the least bit stubborn or headstrong). I keep telling her to become a writer because of her talent but her path so far is leading her into the humanitarian field. Who knows…maybe she’ll do both.

  6. Kids know if you want to really spend your time with them, and they’ll mirror the roots of your behavior, too, Wendy. So I think you’re reaping the fruits of your wise investment and thoughtful actions. Happy New Year!

    • I agree with that. Kids do know if you want to spend time with them or if you’re just doing it because you have to or feel obligated. They pick up on that. And thanks for the kind words! But in many respects, she’s a good person in her own right (as is her brother). They make good choices.

  7. Happy belated birthday, sounds like you had a good day 🙂 I’m so happy for you having such great kids and having such a great relationship with them. You’ve abviously done something right 😉 There is no way it’s genes, alone 😉 😉

  8. You have the greatest gift anyone could want, loving children! Not sure how I managed it, but mine turned out to be pretty decent too. Must be the early exposure to comic books! 😀 Sending belated birthday wishes your way!

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