I am on a list at the Post Office. My seven-year-old had information they needed to know and sang like a bird when I didn’t see it coming. “Is there anything fragile, liquid, flammable or potentially dangerous in you package?” The postman drones routinely. “Not unless scarves are scary.” I quip. He smiles and Tessa spills it, “Are glitter bombs dangerous? She sent one to Dani last week.” The truth is it was a harmless gift of baby gifts laced with glitter. They didn’t know that. I don’t know if you have ever said the word “bomb” in a government office, but don’t. They did finally release me without bail, but I think they were madder than Dani; and she is still vacuuming that mess.
The vet’s assistant thought our puppy had an adorable tail, Tessa set her straight. “You might think it’s cute, but I think you should fix it, my Dad hates pet butts.” This is a benign example of the open books our lives have become.
Tessa is a bonus baby. She came as a surprise after I was thirty and lives in a world of teenagers and grown-ups. With an “old” Mom, a father who has perfected the art of cussing and three teenage siblings she is never at a loss for sensitive information to share with the world. After parenting for all these years and not having the strength to get worked up about much of anything anymore I suspect I may have failed to give her the respect she deserves when it comes to being a tattle tale and forced her to go elsewhere for affirmation.
One of her best friends is the “Mail Lady”. She stalks this woman with a determined vehemence that is almost psychotic. “Yea, Mail Lady!” she bellows before blasting out the front door to join her during deliveries on our block. No doubt that woman knows more about my family than I do. I was in charge of hosting a baby shower. Being by nature anti-social, I generally reserve entertaining for when hell freezes over and my potential for failure concerned my daughter so she took it straight to Mail Lady. The next day I received a bag full of shower games and a party planning book in addition to the mail. Mail Lady got a thank you note but all of Tessa’s confessions are not as appreciated.
Her sister turned a spectacular shade of purple, when their Nana was informed Sissy had been kissing on her boyfriend. Conner would have died happy if I never heard he liked to make “handsome faces” in the bathroom mirror. Adrian, our oldest was beaten profusely (A was a hitter) when Tessa told Girlfriend A about Girlfriend B. Her entire class knows not to even look at me before I have had my coffee, and my Mom, who lives 900 miles away, knows our next door neighbor had his “‘lectricity shut off.” Tess grinned at the cashier at the Super Center before saying I hate that place and would rather clean toilets than shop there.
Essentially, our privacy died along time ago and I, for one, am done mourning it. I tried to impress on her that some things are sacred, threatened to beat her with a stick and tried to confine her to the house. The stick thing was a really bad idea, that didn’t go over well with authorities (no charges again, but I am pushing it) and keeping her home only gives her new ammunition. After months of careful consideration I found a solution and we have come to an agreement. I confirm that people really do need to know and it is definitely her job to tell them. I even collect tidbits for her arsenal, just as long as she agrees to tell it on her father.