It was a constant struggle to arrive anywhere on time when my daughters were younger. A “quick” dash out the door consisted of no less than ten minutes spent locating missing shoes and at least that many minutes of standing in the bathroom doorway as a toddler pooped, all the while asking, “Are you done yet?” every 30 seconds until I was given the go-ahead to wipe her ass.

Finally reaching the car didn’t mean we were ready to leave because I’d have to spend at least three more minutes running back through the house like a frantic contestant on Supermarket Sweep to grab the forgotten snack/stuffed animal/jacket/book/kitchen sink that was left behind.

I thought that things would get easier as my daughters grew older. Oh, how wrong I was.

Leaving the house with a teenage daughter is like orchestrating a shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral. NASA claims that the space shuttle is “the most complex machine ever built” but NASA has apparently never met a teenage girl.

Our pre-launch routine looks something like this:

• Ford Explorer lift-off may be scheduled for T-minus 30 minutes, but my daughter’s asleep and I have to wake her up.

• She also needs a shower because damn, teenagers stink.

• She’s in the shower but I have to go spelunking in her bedroom to locate a fresh pair of underwear and a bra for her. And socks. And jeans. But not these jeans. She wants her other pair of jeans; the ones that look exactly like the jeans that I already found except they have a cute rhinestone design on the butt pockets.

• Do I want my daughter to have rhinestones on her butt pockets? Won’t that make people look at her butt?

• I contemplate the butt pockets for another five minutes or so.

• That’s okay, though, because she’s still in the shower, anyway.

• Twenty minutes later, the water’s finally turned off and I hear shuffling sounds within the bathroom. Good; we’ll be leaving in a few minutes.

• Control tower says Ford Explorer lift-off is negatory at this time. My daughter’s eyeliner is uneven.

• Apparently, winged eyeliner is *really* hard and now she’s got to wash it all off and start over again.

• I can’t find my sweater. I just had the damn thing… oh. Right. She is wearing it.

• Are you fucking kidding me? She’s wearing my shoes, too! Now I have to change my whole outfit to match a different pair because the ensemble is really flattering on her and I don’t want to wreck her fashion Feng Shui by demanding my stuff back.

• She needs to brush her hair.

• She can’t find her phone.

• Okay, she found her phone but can’t find her earbuds.

• She needs to brush her hair again because she did the front parts, which look fine, but the back is a tangled mess that appears to be housing a nest of velociraptors within. Or bats. Upon closer inspection, I decide it’s bats.

• She won’t let me brush it for her. Basically, I’m going to die of old age before we ever make it to the car.

• All this waiting around has left me needing to pee.

• We’re in the car! Success! Liftoff in 3….. 2….. oh, damn. She’s got to run back inside because she forgot her mascara and lip balm.

• Five minutes later, I’m pulling out of the driveway and NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW!

• I just have to creep along really slowly down our bumpy road because she’s applying her mascara and I don’t want her to lose an eye.

Alison Huff

A lover of lapsang souchong tea, unnaturally-colored hair, and Oxford commas, Alison’s stories are written with a signature blend of humor and brutal honesty. She often jokes that she became a writer so she could speak to the masses without actually having to TALK to them face to face, but words are indeed her greatest strength. She revels in weaving them together to tell an entertaining story, rouse laughter, offer reassurance, provide sympathy, or just to give the world a piece of her mind.


    • Alison Huff

      I do. With an iron fist. No, wait… I got that part wrong. I do it with liberal amounts of humor and sarcasm.

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