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Posted on Jan 15, 2015

I may be many things, but square?

How do you want your children to describe you?

I would hope words like “coolest parent ever,” “a beacon of light in my life” and “the rock of my foundation.”

No such luck for me.

Last week, my 17-year-old daughter told me I was “square.”

Square, as in dork. Uncool. Lame. Out of touch.

jill, mug

Jill FitzSimmons, editor QVPR

A senior in high school, my daughter and I were sitting on her bed, talking about college. I was telling her a story about me and my college roommates, who were never square, and she unleashed her cold and entirely inaccurate analysis of her mother.

“You are such a square,” she said.

What did I do?

I immediately started rattling off a bunch of reasons why I’m not a square, which, in itself, is a little pathetic. I know that now, looking back. But she had me backed into a corner, wounded like a wrinkled pocket protector.

Oh, yeah! I skipped class at least a half dozen times in high school!

Oh, yeah! I was written up by the RA for having boys in my dorm room after curfew!

Oh, yeah! I moved halfway across the country – away from my square parents!

This is not good parenting. I see that now.

More importantly, never admit to anything that will be used against you later.

Like the time I told my nephew, who was struggling in his first year of college, not to worry. After all, my brother — his father — got booted out his sophomore year.

While I was trying to offer my nephew a little comfort, I didn’t know my brother hadn’t shared this warm and fuzzy, coming-of-age story with his son.

When my nephew started laughing and pointing at my brother, I cringed. I know my brother will pull something out of his arsenal of childhood memories against me one day.

Maybe it’s better that my daughter thinks I’m a square, even if it’s not close to being true. (Am I sounding pathetic again?)

And, more importantly, I’m at the point in my life where I don’t want my kids pulling any of the shenanigans I did. Sleep is too important to me.

Case in point is my tattoo, which sits like a blinking neon sign on my right ankle. It’s a sea turtle with three blossoms. It’s an artistic reminder of a wonderful tropic vacation. But when used for a child’s misguided purpose of the moment, it might as well be red flames racing up my back shouting “woman of questionable morals.”

A week before I was assaulted with the “square” comment, more teenage insults were tossed my way when I argued that my daughter, who turns 18 in five months, should wait to get a tattoo until she’s closer to 25. Maybe even 30. Or just never.

“That’s so narrow minded,” she said, rolling her eyes.

No, just thoughtful consideration of a big life decision.

The important thing to remember, however, is I am more than a mother. I am a wealth of life experiences that my children can draw upon to make smart decisions on the road to happy lives.

And there’s nothing square about that.

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