BEING the dad of a 16-year-old girl is one of the biggest challenges of my life.
I can deal with work, I can deal with my relationship with my wife (most of the time), but dealing with being a dad to a teenage girl is something else entirely.
The problem is, she’s just not logical.
My computer is logical - most of the time. When it isn’t, I can usually find five or so steps to fix it.
But I can’t fix my 16-year-old.
Every day I think, I will be calm today, I won’t row with her...and then I do.
It can start as something innocuous like “what did you do last night”.
“Why?”, comes the answer.
A few steps on and I’m told I never believe her, I’m always making assumptions, I’m always accusing her of lying and that I just don’t understand.
Of course, to be fair, I probably don’t understand - who can understand the life of a 16-year-old girl.
Equally, some of the time, she probably is lying, or at least being economical with the truth.
I probably told a few porkies myself when I was that age.
But every now and again I try to catch her out, just to prove my own sanity.
Then I end up doubting it all over again because, even when said lie is exposed in all its unequivocal glory, I am informed that she “never said that”.
Yes she did.
No she didn’t, I’m told again.
But yes, she definitely, definitely did.
No she didn’t.
Yes she..um...at least I think she did....or did she?
By this stage I’m doubting my own memory - which is a very unsettling thing when you’re in your 40s and you know the time of remembering things wrong is not that far away.
But I was right, I know I was right, I just can’t prove it, and the only other witness is not about to confess, not when she knows she has me on the ropes.
When I’m really out for the count is when the evidence is there, plain as day, for all to see - like a pile of mugs and plates you’ve asked her a million times to take downstairs to the kitchen.
“I’ve taken them down,” she says.
I gesticulate, astoundedly at aforementioned evidence. It really is there, isn’t it - I’m not seeing things.
No it’s not, she says. At least not what she had been asked to take down. She’s already taken that stuff down, apparently - what I’m pointing to is a pile of washing up she insists she has not - yet - been asked to remove from her room.
Is she right - technically. Am I wrong, technically.
I no longer know. I feel like weeping, I have been so confused by the evidence of my own eyes.
Perhaps I am insane. And even if I can convince myself I’m not, I still have at least a couple more years of attacks on my reasoning to survive, somehow.
How does someone so young manage so adeptly to tie me up in such spectacular knots?
Yet, despite being made to feel so small, despite having argued to the point of exasperation, I still obediently pick her and her friends up from the cinema the next night - because absolutely no-one else’s parents can do it, honestly.
I must be a fool - clearly...