Anna: God, Mom! I’m so irritated today. Ugh!
Me: Me, too. Must be the rain. Wanna fight?
Anna: Ok. What should we fight about?
Me: I don’t care. Go ahead, I’ll let you pick.
Anna: Umm…how about how annoying it is when you & Dad totally stalk everything I do? You constantly check my grades, you read my texts, you look at my Instagram page. Let’s fight about my lack of privacy.
Me: Good try, sweetie, but that sort of privacy is non-negotiable for a 13-year-old girl. Pick something realistic to fight about.
Anna: How about how embarrassing your car is? Seriously, there’s nothing more embarrassing than a bright-white minivan. It’s a serial killer’s car.
Me: Listen, I’m not that thrilled to be driving a minivan either, so I’m not going to fight you on that one, but I’ll disagree that it’s a serial killer’s car. I bet you can’t name a single serial killer that drives a white Honda Odyssey.
Anna: Then, how about the fact that we never have anything good to eat in this house?
Me: Forget it. Any additional junk food will just cause your brothers to break more stuff. I’ve got one! How about how you constantly leave your wet towels all over your bedroom floor? That always fires me up.
Anna: Sorry, but I’ve picked mine up for the last 3 days. If you want someone to be mad at, I saw a wet towel on Will’s floor last night.
Me: Fair enough. I’ll yell at him later. What about your test grade in English?
Anna: No way! Dad yelled at me for about 5 hours last night. He already covered the “if you continue to get grades like that, you’ll be lucky to scrub toilets at McDonalds” speech. Pick something else.
Me: How about your lunch box? I’m still mad that you lost it. That was an expensive lunch box!
Anna: Hey, I didn’t lose it. It’s not my fault.
Me: Of course, it’s your fault. Did you check the Lost & Found?
Anna: Nah, I didn’t bother. Someone probably stole it. It’s not a big deal, just buy another one.
Me: Maybe I’ll call the school and see if they’ll make an announcement about your missing lunch box. What do you think?
Anna: Mom, don’t! They probably wouldn’t do it anyway.
Me: Better yet, what if I go to the school and ask if I can make an announcement over the loud speaker? Maybe something like this…
“A very happy hello to all of you wonderful junior high students! This is Anna Kate’s mom. You may know me from my extremely-embarrassing-bright-white-serial-killer-looking minivan. Anyway, if you’ve accidentally stolen my daughter’s super-duper cute lunch box, go ahead and eat whatever remains inside, then please return it immediately. I’m offering a reward for it’s safe return in the form of junk food…a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese, a liter of Mountain Dew and a half-eaten bag of Sour Patch Kids which may contain my 10-year-old’s missing tooth. Thank you and have a lovely day.”
Anna: Don’t worry, I’ll check the Lost & Found today.
Me: Good idea!