There is little from my teen years that I want to remember. They are not fond memories. I want to write that I was awkward, but let’s face it – we were all awkward. I could argue that I had some extra awkwardness, but I am sure that pretty much anyone could argue that. There is one thing that I did love in my teen years: having my own phone line.
I have no idea why my parents indulged me in this way. By the time I was in seventh grade, my parents owned their own business which they ran out of the basement of our house. We had a home line and a business line, and then they gave me a teen line. Why?
I guess to a certain extent this is similar to our own children having cell phones. They have had their phones since the summer when I could not find them as they babysat all day. They started off sharing a phone, and then they graduated to having their own phones. It is handy.
But there was nothing handy about the fact that I had a teen line – except for me and my friends. The kids’ phone allow me to track them down at any point in the day or night. My phone only functioned in my room. The kids received their phones more for my own purposes at least at first. My phone had nothing to do with my parents…except as an avenue to make me happy.
And maybe that was part of what was so great about it. My parents were pretty free with their giving to us as kids. I am not sure that they should have been so generous to us, but they were. The phone was more than just a gift…something that I could see and think, “Wow, what a great thing that they gave me.” It represented something to me: freedom and trust. My parents did not just give me something; they gave me something that represented so much more than a thing – it was the essence that they saw me as independent enough to deserve a line to myself so that I could talk to my friends and not be interrupted by their calls – personal or business.
The Mickey Mouse phone that started off as my first phone now sits in my kitchen. It has traveled with us all over – North Dakota, Massachusetts, and now Minnesota. I love that it is “vintage” item. More than that, though, I love that it represents a time gone by when I graduated from a kid who needed to be watched over every minute to the teen who could have some freedom to talk to whom she wanted when she wanted.
I am now an adult and need no one to tell me that I can talk to my friends all night if I want to do so. We wouldn’t do that anyway – most of us have a kid or two who needs us…talking to friends is a rare commodity except to ask them to give our kids a ride to a function when we are double booked. Having the reminder, though, that this was not always the case satisfies some part of me that lives deep down inside of me.
An inner teen perhaps?