The argument began while we were still walking through the parking lot.
“Do you have my ticket?”
“Can I hold it?”
“Because you’ll lose it.”
“No, I won’t.”
“Yes, you will.”
The argument continued—with slight variations—until we got to the gate, at which point I pulled the ticket out of my bag, flashed it at the attendant, and then put it back into my bag once more. Once past the gate, though, it began again—and again I refused to part with the ticket. It was only after we got to our seats that I agreed to relinquish the ticket long enough for her to go to the bathroom, and even then only after I had made sure to repeat at least three times, like a mantra, “Do NOT lose your ticket.”
Twenty minutes later, just when I was beginning to wonder how the bathroom line could already be so long, I got the phone call. “I lost my ticket.”
Of course you did.
Luckily, the attendant checking tickets in our section had experience dealing with this sort of thing before, or maybe he was just happy to see that my all-too-palpable wrath was being directed at someone other than him, because he let us both go back to our seats with only one ticket between us. One ticket, and about forty “I-told-you-so’s” and “I’m sorry’s”.
Sigh. I knew she was sorry. That wasn’t the point. The point was that why, just this one time, couldn’t she have believed that maybe my crazy nagging had a purpose—that, maybe, just maybe, I knew what I was talking about. Because maybe I’d been there before.
There’s a line in a Dylan song where he says, “An’ here I sit so patiently/Waiting to find out what price/You have to pay to get out of/Going through all these things twice,” and I am convinced that he is singing about parenting. Because the frustrating thing isn’t so much that they won’t take our good advice, but that they insist on ignoring the same good advice that we also ignored when we were their age, thereby giving us the chance to relive all of our own mistakes over and over again.
But here’s the thing: I don’t want to relive my mistakes all over again. And I shouldn’t have to—I learned my lesson the first time (well, okay, maybe the fifth time), but the point is that I learned it. I learned how miserable it is to stand outside the concert all your friends are at because you lost your ticket, and how awful it is to watch your grade plummet because you left your Very Important Paper on the bus. I learned all of those lessons really, really well; unfortunately, what I didn’t seem to learn is a convincing way of communicating that knowledge to someone else.
Which means, I guess, that she’ll end up learning her lessons the same way I did: the hard way. And it also means that there’s nothing I can do about it. Which, maybe, is the lesson that I need to learn right now.