Bongs and Boundaries: My Latest Parenting Mistakeby Dani Alpert
In my continued struggle with boundaries and appropriate parenting, I found myself at dinner last night with my boyfriend, his daughter and her boyfriend - talking about bongs, sensimilla and one-hitters, oh my.
We began our family discussion with a summary of the television show, Breaking Bad. It's a show which I haven’t seen, but learned was about a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer, who turns to producing and selling methamphetamine so his family is taken care of when he dies. How noble.
This wasn’t the first time that meth came up in a family discussion. I know what you're thinking, how lucky can I get? My boyfriend’s 13-year-old son plays an X-Box game called Saints Row that allows him to own shares in a crystal meth lab. We are so proud. Seriously, what the heck is going on out there? Whatever happened to Pac-Man, Centipede or the Super Mario Brothers? I know this is naive of me and I know the times, they are a changin' - but teaching kids how to invest in a meth lab?! Why not a brothel? A crack house? An abortion clinic? The point is, what the F?
But let’s return to last night’s dinner:
After my boyfriend and I were schooled on the profitability of a meth lab, we got on the topic of smoking pot (or as my parents liked to call it, "grass." Adorable.) My boyfriend’s daughter asked her father if he had ever smoked pot. I sat frozen in anticipation. Was he going to tell her the truth? And if he did, how much was he going to divulge?
Oh, he went for it all right. He told them how he used to smoke a lot before he got married, and how pot back then was so much better than it is today. He also shared his experience with a bad trip the last time he smoked, a few years ago. I threw up my hands. After all, if he didn’t have a problem with the subject matter, then why should I?
I regaled the kids with memories of the last time my boyfriend and I got stoned. “We were playing scrabble and then the ‘grass’ kicked in, and we had to stop." (Picture me gesticulating widely and smiling like a mental patient) "So then we started eating! Ha! We couldn’t stop laughing. I think we got the pot from my brother’s friend. Oh, we laughed.” I’m not sure how I had the good sense to leave out the part where we hopped into bed and sucked face until we passed out, but I did. See, boundaries.
And then I realized, I sounded like a complete ass. I was that 40-year old frat guy who’s still bragging about the time he got so wasted that he fell asleep on a neighbor’s driveway. I wanted to hurl myself into the French doors.
Why were we talking about this with the kids? It wasn’t right. It felt weird. I guess in some perverse and messed up way, I wanted to share. Maybe it was the moment. Maybe it was the attention. Maybe I wanted to show them that their dad and I were way cooler than her mom and her boyfriend. Real mature, Girlfriend Mom.
Or maybe I still don’t know what I'm doing.