When my eldest daughter was 15, more than a decade ago, we took a family vacation where I really wanted to kill her. If you ever had a teenage daughter, you probably know how I felt. She barely uttered a word in 10 days. We didn’t get so much as a smile. She had an RBF (see #2 below) that never cracked. Never.
It was about that time that we started calling family togetherness “FFF”—or “Forced Family Fun“ …and, the name stuck for years, because lucky me, there was another teenage daughter in training.
But that was then.
Now, more than a decade later, my daughter, now a fully functioning adult, has changed her attitude… Dinner out with the family? She’s game! Family vacation? Bring it on! When we told her about a recently planned FFF with extended family, a big smile came over her face. “Free Family Fun?…” she exclaimed, “…YES!“
For the two older kids who are off the family payroll (the third one is still coming around, I pray), Forced Family Fun, which kinda sucked, morphed into Free Family Fun, which is pretty much awesome.
Free stuff- dinners, accommodations, alcohol, occasionally a little shopping- is awesome. And of course, they like us now (at least I think they do.) And it’s a win-win, because we like them now too (at least I think we do.)
And I’m getting something extra out of Free Family Fun too- I call it FECES: Free Education, Culture & Entertainment by Siblings.
By spending time with my adult kids, who are open and honest (sometimes too honest), I am able to keep in touch with what is going on in their lives and keep current with the next generation. Most importantly, they keep me laughing. Earlier this summer, I learned a whole bunch of new acronyms from a weekend away with the kids- that was some good FECES.
This past weekend did not disappoint…
1. I learned about the existence of this…
This was surely worth the price of at least one dinner, wouldn’t you agree?
2. I learned that there is something called a Resting Bitch Face, or RBF. It’s a face where the smile lines go down into a little frown when at rest. It’s the face of most 15 year old girls when in the presence of their mothers, but you could probably name 10 adults that look mean or unhappy as their baseline, even when they are not. I can for sure…but I won’t.
3. I learned about Acai Bowls from both my girls- the one who just got back from a trip to Brazil (where they are very popular) and my NYC girl, who just knows these kinds of things. These Acai bowls are even better (and healthier perhaps) than my awesome Smoothie. This is worth a try: in a Cuisinart or Vitamix, combine 1/3 frozen banana, 1 packet of frozen Acai berries broken up (available at Whole Foods, or about 100 g if you can find them in bulk) and about 1/2 Tbs apple cider, apple juice or orange juice. Blend until smooth to the consistency of a soft sherbert. Spoon in a bowl over a little granola. Top with a little more sliced banana, berries, a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, and swirl a bit of honey on top. (In Brazil, they are often topped with peanuts, tapioca, or sweetened condensed milk.)
4. I learned what to do when someone writes a really, really, long email because everyone knows that emails, like texts (and blog posts), are best short and to the point. Next time you receive one of those big blocks of texts, simply reply: “TLDR.” Too Long, Didn’t Read. (I urge you to submit an exhaustively long comment to this post telling me in painful detail why you hated this blog because I can’t wait to use this.)
5. I learned what to do if you have just written one of those big blocks of text, by accident of course. Say it takes you 500 words to explain why you want to break up with your boyfriend. It was so cathartic, but will he read it? Be sure to summarize at the end, acknowledging that the email is, of course, Too Long To Read. Insert at end: “TLTR: I hate your guts; we’re finished.” He can go back and get the details if he wants, but he won’t miss your point just because your email is too long.
And If you just skimmed this piece, I totally understand–
TLTR: Your kids can teach you some cool stuff so be sure to buy them dinner and beer.