Mom and Dad, thank you for ruining my life

There is an episode of “Friends” in which Joey is rehearsing a scene with Phoebe.

As they are running lines, Phoebe gets carried away and ultimately becomes overly impressed with her own acting ability, which is clearly horrible.

Put off by her inflated ego, Joey puts the kibosh on their rehearsal, but caught up in the moment, Phoebe keeps “acting,” saying she doesn’t need him or anyone else to make it.

“You’ll see, you’ll all see!” she screams in ridiculously exaggerated fashion.

It’s a funny scene, especially to parents because we all, at one point or another in our lives, use this line on our children.

“Someday, when you’re a parent, YOU’LL SEE.”

Don’t even pretend you haven’t pulled that one out of your back pocket at least once a quarter since your kids were old enough to talk.

And as we prepare to give thanks this week for all the blessings in our lives, I feel compelled, as a Mom, to give it up to my own parents for everything they’ve done for me over the past 49 years. I am particularly grateful for the ways they ruined my life.

For instance:

While so many of my friends got to hang out at the mall after school or go home to an empty house where they could eat Twinkies for dinner, you guys forced me to come home to a well-balanced, home-cooked meal eaten around a table where all five of us were forced to sit and speak to one another. Every night. #torture

As I watched countless classmates sneak into parties or movies they were too young to attend or fib about where they were having a sleepover, you made me tell you where I was going and with whom every time I left the house. My 11 p.m. curfew was etched in stone. Oh, and as other kids were having a ball going out on weeknights, you made me stay in, doing chores and homework. The humanity!

How about the way you made me clean all the time? My teeth, my plate, my room, the dishes — sheesh! I’m pretty sure there are child labor laws against this today, just sayin’. Ma, I thought you loved me. How could ya?

What about all those threats? The command to wipe “that look” from my face, the mandate to stop crying or be given something to cry about, the warning of the Vulcan nerve pinch if I dared roll my eyes one more time. To be fair, this was mostly Pop. Big meanie.

Ooh, then there were the absolutes, the hard-core mandates, the dictates to end all decrees:

l You will not miss school unless a lung collapses.

l Your dress will consist of four yards of impervious material and will come to rest at your ankles and wrists accordingly.

l Conduct unbecoming of a lady will occur at the risk of lost teeth, limbs or the ability to sit comfortably for a month.

l If you are smoking, you better darn well have somehow caught on fire, you dig?

l You will go to Mass. Every Sunday. Forever. #seriouslythough

Yep, thanks to those co-wardens, my childhood and adolescence was nothing short of a prison term.

Guess what? I can never, ever thank or repay them enough, capisce? #loveyoumomanddad

And just for the record, I finally see.

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