The Parent Trap | Anonymous
Being a teenager can really suck. It’s not at all uncommon to feel worthless, insecure, or unwanted, especially if everyone in your life is getting more dating action than you — including your newly separated parents.
Your mom asked, of course, if you felt comfortable with her dating. You said no. She didn’t seem to care, and is now stuck in a 90s teen movie-style love triangle, trying to choose between two great guys who really like her. And any hope your fragile ego has of being loved for your personality flies out the window when your dad recounts his most recent date: “she’s an incredibly intelligent woman and we have a lot in common, but she wasn’t very pretty, so I don’t think there’ll be a second one.” The moment that you’re crying in your room about how ugly you are and how no one will ever be interested in you is the moment your mom decides to pop by and tell you how she just got asked out at the grocery store.
You’ve completely given up on trying to keep either of your rooms clean — clothes are easier to pack when they’re thrown on the floor. You drag a suitcase back and forth every few days, bite your tongue when they make snarky comments about each other, and only get to see your dog half the time, but your parents still decide they want to feel like a family. Cue Thanksgiving — The Parent Trap. Except instead of trapping your parents so they get back together, you’re trapped by your parents, who are most definitely not getting back together.
And that’s okay, you’re not sure if you’d even want that. They’re doing better on their own, working on themselves in a way they just didn’t seem to want to before. And you can’t help but wonder if you were holding them back, since this illustrious period of personal growth happened when they started spending less time with you. But back to The Parent Trap.
Thanksgiving isn’t your first family dinner since everything happened, of course. There’s been a handful, and each one has been more awkward than the last, with the conversation primarily centered around your parents’ dating lives. Your parents couldn’t make it more obvious that they don’t want to be around each other, and all you leave with is a deep feeling of uncomfortability and regret that you just wasted an hour of your life.
Understandably, you’re dreading Thanksgiving, where you will waste not one, but four hours of your life in a situation that no one there wants to be in. Yet, at the gentle suggestion of a more public venue (something you’ve done for many Thanksgivings prior) to make things at least a little less awkward this year, you’re immediately shut down, because, of course, this is a family event. There’s no possible way that you can feel like a proper family without a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.
But how do you tell your parents that their attempts at giving you normalcy are only making things worse? How do you tell them that you need the chance to process things and move on? How do you tell them that you don’t want to be a proper family?