I’ve had the rather uncomfortable feeling lately that I’m turning into my mother. It isn’t just that the highlight of my evening is sitting down to watch reruns of Pawn Stars. It’s hearing myself say to my kids all those annoying things my mom used to tell me: “Be good.” “Be safe.” “Don’t stay out late.”
This last one has become a bit of a sore point now that my teenage son drives. Maryland law requires that he be home by midnight, and I’m grateful to our lawmakers for that rule. I’m betting they passed that restriction not so much out of concern for the kids as for the poor parents who wait up for them.
Yes, like my mother, I cannot go to sleep until my son gets home. I remember when I was in high school and I came home late, my mother was always awake, checking to see if I was OK. Like her, I might go to bed, but I watch the clock until my son comes home.
Teenagers can’t understand what the big deal is. When they are accustomed to sleeping until noon on the weekends, midnight seems like an early curfew. But my party days are long past. I’m lucky if I can stay up until the evening news. I’m just one step away from taking naps in my chair after lunch.
I’m hoping my son goes away to college. That way I can get to bed at a reasonable hour, he can stay out as late as he wants and we’ll both be happy.
Liz Atwood is a former Baltimore Sun features editor who teaches journalism at Hood College. She is the mother of two sons, ages 12 and 16.