The Mom of No: Making Memories


Very recently, the Teenager joined the ranks of taxpaying citizens by acquiring a part–time job. She’s excited about making some money, which she says she is going to save for some clarinet–related item that she says she needs but that her mother is too frugal to pay for. I suspect that she’ll spend a lot of her hard earned bucks on frozen yogurt and Starbucks, but it’s her money.

She can do what she wants with it, as long as she remembers that Mother’s Day is in about a month and her mother really likes coffee.

On her first day of work, I was really tempted to go over to her workplace with my camera and take a bunch of pictures for the family photo album — yes, the same one I haven’t actually put any photos in since 2010.
The devil was sitting on my shoulder, telling me, “Go over there! She’ll love it! You can gush all over her and tell her what a great job she’s doing, introduce yourself to her boss, take a lot of pictures and tell all the customers to be nice to your kid or else you’re going to hunt them down!”

After I thought about this for a few minutes, I decided that actually getting in my car and going over to where the Teenager was working and making a spectacle of myself would probably be a bad idea.

To start with, the Teenager would probably never speak to me again. From a teenaged point of view, it would probably be highly embarrassing to have your mother show up with a camera while you’re trying to work. Also, almost no one else seemed to think that going to observe the Teenager at work was a good idea.

My co–workers said to leave her alone.

My friends said to leave her alone.

The Dad of No said to leave her alone.

The Son of Never Stops Eating, the outlier of the bunch, was enthusiastically ready to go over there with me and assist in the shenanigans.

It doesn’t really matter anyway that I failed to get a photo of The Teenager On Her First Day of Work. I haven’t done a good job of getting pictures of all the other milestones past kindergarten. I think I have a photo of her first day of middle school, and I am fairly certain that I have one of the first day of 10th grade, because in it, both she and her brother were looking like they were headed off to be audited by the IRS instead of going to school.

I asked her if I could take a picture of her sitting in the driver’s seat of the car after getting her learner’s permit, and she rolled her eyes and said, “Do I have to? I really need to get back to school.” That’s OK, though. After driving around town with a learner driver, I have plenty of gray hair to remember this rite of passage. I don’t need pictures.

I think I may actually have more pictures of birds than I do of my own kids, now that I think about it.

This particular milestone on the way to adulthood will have to go undocumented photographically. I’m sure that there will be plenty of other memories — the pride of getting her first paycheck, the agony of realizing that The Man took some of it (I did warn her).

I’m also sure that this will probably be just one of many milestones to come that will not be photographed by her mother, probably because her mother won’t be there. I’m fairly certain she will not want me following her around on her first day of college classes, for example.

In the meantime, if you are headed out to your favorite eating establishment, be nice to the people working behind the counter taking your order and making sure you get your food. One of them may be the Teenager, working hard to earn her clarinet/Starbucks cash, and making her first contributions to Social Security.

Read more memoirs and musings from The Mom of No at


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