No one likes getting older. I’ve yet to meet a woman who can’t wait to turn 40, or someone whose skin tingles with a warm, fuzzy feeling when it’s finally time to make that colonoscopy appointment. (“This afternoon, on a very special Leave it to Beaver…”)
But it happens to all of us. Whether you’re easing into your 30’s, slowly realizing that your body can’t handle hot wings, curly fries and a six pack of Milwaukee’s Best three times a week, or you’re passing into your 40’s and find yourself waking up slack-jawed with drool oozing down the side of your face at 9:30 pm most nights, blinking at your kid as you fumble for the remote, it happens.
And sometimes, even if you do come to grips with all of those adjustments that your aging body is throwing your way year after year, your fun new failings can have strange effects on others.
For example, my gradual hearing loss is a constant source of frustration for my daughter. It’s hard for her when she’s talking to me. Poor thing. Sometimes she has to stop shouting from upstairs, come all the way into the same room as me and actually turn off the music that hangs around her, thumping and blaring like a raging storm cloud of rock and pop.
And even then, if she’s not looking at me, there are times when I honestly still can’t hear what she’s saying.
All of this has led her to believe that I am faking.
At first I was offended. Who would lie about something like that? Then I was hurt. Have I failed as a mother? What kind of person does she think I am? What other stuff does she think I am lying about? And then I was angry. How dare she? Are you kidding me? Grounded for life! But mostly, I was just confused. Why would I do that? It didn’t make any sense.
This battle has raged on, sporadically, for almost a year. Sometimes it ends in laughter, sometimes, well…not so much. It usually depends on the tone of her accusation.
But something occurred to me today; a lightbulb blinked on, answering that nagging question of why.
She thinks I’m faking it to make her life miserable.
Of course. It makes perfect sense. Because last year, just after her 13th birthday, a little man inside her head reached up and flipped the switch that controls her ability to reason. And then this evil little troll (to me he looks like Russell on Survivor) took an eraser and, looking back over his humped shoulders, laughed just before he wiped all of her common sense from the chalkboard in her brain. And now, there is nothing in there but iPhone apps and the Smashing Pumpkins.
If you could look in her head, I swear you’d see me spending my days huddled in a dark corner at home, laughing as I concocted new ways to make her life miserable.
Sometimes I forget.
So from now on, when she accuses me of faking, I will take it as a compliment. After all, anyone who would literally fake hearing loss to annoy and agitate their teenage daughter is taking it to a completely new level. Who knew I had so much game? It’s actually genius.
And I’m really sorry, but you’ll have to excuse me now. I have to get back to work; there’s a dark corner with my name on it.