The teenagers walk in from school. The conversation starts off pretty mellow. The oldest speaks of plans after work and asks for a ride. In the back of my mind, I think, great, we just had a pleasant conversation and it ended on a happy note – friends, sushi, and a fun night out.
In case you don't have teenagers of your own, usually our conversations go the way of Katie Kaboom. You don't know who Katie Kaboom is? She is a teenage cartoon character from Animaniacs who greatly overreacts to trivially upsetting situations turning into a comically violent and destructive monster, usually leaving the family home in ruins.
The oldest teenager walks out of the room and returns a few moments later with tears starting to well in the corners of her eyes, "I need to go shopping. I have nothing to wear. All I have is this sweatshirt."
"She's Katie Kaboom, Katie Kaboom, lives in a house with a garden in bloom…
I take a few moments and catalog all of the clothes I know I have purchased for her over the past six months or so. I start pulling options out of my memory, "What about the shirt you "had to have" for the first day of school? Where is the shirt grandma bought you? Didn't you just go shopping a few weeks ago?" With every word I can see her growing more and more impatient with me. I know that we have a busy night and a trip to the mall was not in our plans.
I ask, "Maybe you can borrow that shirt your grandmother bought your sister?"
The younger teen pipes in, "Mom, that is a summer shirt in FALL colors!"
Older teen glares at her sister as her voice starts getting higher and higher. "I have NO clothes! YOU knew I had plans to go out. I told YOU last month!"
…Her family knows that any time soon, their little lady Katie, goes Kaboom!"
After a phone call and a little schedule reorganization, both teens are out shopping with their very kind and patient grandmother. As they walked out the door, all I heard was the oldest teenager saying, "I need to go shopping because I am going out tonight. I don't know why SHE is coming!"
…their little lady Katie, goes Kaboom!"