All Tricks No Treats

It is just so trippy being a parent sometimes.  I don’t know how many of you find yourself having this deja vu moment, although its role reversal, but you are having the same conversation you had with your own parent – as the parent. <shudder> I distinctly remember feeling my mom had no idea what I was going through or that she would never understand my complex emotions and situations I found myself in as a pre-teen or teen.  Now that I have a pre teen I find myself being constantly frustrated, and here’s why…

Halloween is right around the corner and OF COURSE we are entering the time where Brooke is tipping her toe in the co-ed outing pond.  Brooke has always had high ambitions and expectations for her Halloween costume choice. This year went from zombie ballerina to Wednesday Addams and a few in between.  Each idea came with pinterest makeup and hair ideas, all the way down to trying to convince me to buy her expensive doc martens that I knew she would only wear with her costume.  So, when she came home and said I think I want to be a m&m. A group of us are going to go trick or treating. At first I was excited! A colored circle for a costume? Easy! Done! But then slowly the word “group” sunk in; before that it was always, I going trick or treating with GiGi or Summer, now I have the word, “group.”  

Calm down Colleen, its okay.  You went trick or treating in a group when you were in 5th grade, this is completely normal.  Inside I’m melting down and so worried, but I’m trying to keep it cool. I am trying not to make my daughter feel the need to hide things from me or lie.  I don’t want to freak her out about hanging around boys her own age, but I also don’t want her to be in situations she isn’t ready for. BUT, I like that she is in a face to face situation hanging out with boys and girls, and not some weird group snap chat where kids can be a little more bold and make poor choices.  So – clearly I’m having a massive freak out inside. To Brooke I must look like an absolute crazy person with my fake ass smile pasted on my face and I’m sure my eyes were wide and slightly twitchy like they do when I’m super stressed.

I try to take calming breaths, and I ask Brooke as casually as this crazy mom can, “That sounds like fun!”  “We can go shopping online for your costume; m&m should be easy peasy!” “So, group, huh? Who is in the group with you?”  I thought I was being real slick by asking that part last. Brooke named and a couple girls names and then casually said, “and a few other people”.  Yea I see what you did there. Keeping it vague, “few other people” Don’t play me. Now, I just came right out with it, “Any boys going?” Keep it cool Colleen, don’t sound crazy.  “Because that sounds fun!” What happened next is what is totally messing me up inside.

Brooke got really squeamish.  She said no, then when I asked again, she said maybe.  Ugh! This sucks! I can’t have her lying and hiding shit from me in 5th grade!  This needs to be the easy stuff that we can talk about. I guess I always thought my daughter would be able to talk to me and share things with me.  I know that might be naive, and it could be a pandora’s box. Do I need to hear every detail from my daughter? Do I want to hear about every boy she thinks is cute?  Overwhelmingly the answer in my head is YES! I want to know it all! I have lived a life full of experiences. I have had so many mistakes in relationships with men and women, or in Brooke’s stage, boys and girls.  I have had mean girl situations and awkward first boyfriends in middle school. I remember being in high school feeling like I wanted a boyfriend so desperately, and then when I had one I didn’t know what to do with him.

Brooke brought up Halloween again this morning and promised it was just girls, and the group is smaller, and named the 4 girls going.  I am feeling a little more confident that she is telling the truth with that answer because there was no fidgeting or shifty eyes. And look, for sure there is relief there that I don’t have to worry about her walking around with boys because I do think 5th grade is too young for a boyfriend, but I also know these things are baby steps.  My first middle school boyfriend consisted of us exchanging notes and I don’t even think we held hands. Those baby steps are important, and I just don’t want Brooke to lie to me about it.

Ugh, is only 8:30am on Friday and I need a cocktail.  Anyone free for pre-work drink, or know how to discreetly add a hidden camera to a green m&m costume?


Colleen Lieberstein

Colleen Lieberstein, Executive Administrative Assistant, is the heartbeat at two award winning and fastest growing companies in the Chicagoland area. She lives in New Lenox with her two energetic kids, and her supportive husband. Colleen loves to read, play with her children, and go on adventures with her family. Exploring new places and eating new foods is the best.