December 9, 2002
Eight Simple Rules For Getting Along With My 21-Year-Old Daughter

miles to go: 38.67 [YTD: 1,963.33]

  • Never take her to the circus.

    She's got this thing about Bad Clowns, you see. (While you're at it, you'll probably want to avoid renting "Poltergeist," "It," "Killer Klowns From Outer Space" or "Patch Adams" for pretty much the same reason.)

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  • Go out and buy yourself the BIGGEST SCRAPBOOK you can find.

    You're going to need a place to archive all of the Hallmark cards she sends you. This is the only person I know who sends 'Thank you' cards to acknowledge 'Thank you' cards.

    While you're at it, it wouldn't hurt if you kept all of the letters and e-mails she writes to you ... all of the postcards she sends you while she's traveling ... all photos taken of the two of you together ... all of the ticket stubs and parking validation receipts and party invitations and matchbook covers and Christmas tags and Old Navy coupons and leftover Bananas Flambé you've collected together ... anything, basically, that can be smooshed flat and artfully glue-sticked to the pages of a scrapbook.

    (And then make sure you leave your scrapbook laying open on your coffeetable a lot, so she knows that you look at it often, with great fondness, remembering all of the good times you've had together.)

         *     *     *     *     *     *

  • Surprise her with housecleaning supplies!

    Forget about roses. If you REALLY want to *sweep* this girl off her feet, buy her a Swiffer Wet Jet Mop and a thirty-gallon jug of Formula 409! (And for the love of god, don't ever forget to use a coaster when you're over at her house.)

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  • I hope you like cats.

    Or that you have the name of a good allergist.

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  • Learn to read her signals.

    It's really not all that difficult, once you learn the system.

    • Slight furrowing of brow: I am mildly annoyed by this line of discussion. Change the subject, please.
    • Slight furrowing of brow, combined with quick eyelid flutter and/or tightening of the lips: What? You're still talking?
    • Slightly more pronounced furrowing of brow, accompanied by clenched jaw and audible sigh: Stop talking about this right now or I'm going to have to hurt you.
    • Hands clamped firmly against ears: Lalalalalalalala I can't HEAR you lalalalalalalalalalala!

    See how simple that is?

    Next week: "How To Interpret The Sudden Silences. (They're Not Always About YOU, OK?)"

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  • Don't wear black socks with white shorts.

    Other looks to avoid: orange jumpsuits, camouflage gear, mullets, red sweatpants, footy pajamas, polyester, baggy pants with boxer shorts hanging out of the back, Cub Scout uniforms, mascara, Spandex bike shorts, Strawberry Shortcake anklets or more expensive jewelry than *she* is wearing.

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  • Never toss her suitcases off the balcony.

    Alcoholics with anger-management issues need not apply. (She's been there/done that already ... and unlike her mother, she actually seems to learn from her mistakes, the first time around.) We would also appreciate it if you didn't microwave her pets, hold her favorite stuffed animals for ransom or invite her for rides in stolen automobiles ... but right now we'll settle for keeping her luggage intact.

    She's a special young woman, and her dads and I love her a lot, and we want the same things for her that we want for all of our children: we want her to grow up to be healthy, happy, productive and fulfilled. She's managed to accomplish the growing-up part of it, as of today. (At least from a legal standpoint.)

    It's our job to make sure that *you* don't do anything to screw up the rest of it.

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    And last but not least ... the #1 rule for getting along with my 21-year-old daughter:

  • Be nice to her mother.

    Or else.

Happy Birthday, Puss!
I love you bunches!

memorable *jaymi* entries:

It Was 20 Years Ago Today
Yellow Jell-O
Coming Home
Ten Semi-Useful Things
Mr. Gallagher Says

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i wish i was there to hug you in person, honey.
[see you in two weeks.]