Now that my son Andrew is 13, he’s suddenly become an expert on driving. Even though the kid has zero experience behind the wheel of an automobile, he’s getting more and more adept at pointing out when I’m going too slow, too fast, breathing wrong, should pass the car in front of me, need to merge to the right, should be tailgating the jerk on his phone to teach him a lesson, etc.. It’s as if, the closer he is to getting his license, the more innately superior he feels to me. By the time he’s 16, I’ll have started taking public transportation for fear of his judgement.
Today’s parking adventure.
ANDREW: “Mom, that’s a terrible parking job. People are going to think you’ve got “Parallel Parkinson’s.”
ME: “I have to write that down.”
I tell my sister stories like this and she laughs a hearty, condescending, one-uppy laugh and says “oh just wait. You don’t know anything about parenting teenage boys yet.”
Then she begins ticking off examples of her kids’ wayyyyy more teenagery behavior than Andrew’s know-it-all-ness. I didn’t realize we were competing for the Over-Burdened, Mom of Adolescents badge.
I don’t play the One-Up game very well.
I remember confiding in my friend Laura, a few years ago, that I suffered from depression. That I’d dealt with it on and off my whole life and took medication to cope when sarcasm and irreverent humor didn’t work.
LAURA: “You don’t have it all the time?”
ME: “No. Some days are great. But other days are unbearable. It sort of depends on how busy I am. The more I have on my plate, the less time I have to hate life.”
LAURA: “Sounds like situational depression to me. Most people deal with that. I suffer from clinical depression. That’s the real thing. I have to take strong meds to function every day. It’s been completely debilitating. People with clinical depression are way worse off than what you’ve got.
ME: (thinking) “Okay, you win. Laura. Your depression made the varsity team and is starting every game, while mine probably wouldn’t make the B-Team.”
Wouldn’t trying to “one-up” someone’s troubles be more of a “one-down?”
The following photo has nothing to do with any of the above topics. But it does make me laugh.