Coming Clean: Things I’ve Never Told My Parents
by Emma Barrie
When I was five, I fell off a skateboard in the driveway and cut my chin open. I had to get 11 stitches. As the doctor was sewing me up, you told me how brave I was — riding a skateboard on my own! Truth: I was sitting on the skateboard when I fell off. I still don’t understand how it happened.
When I was seven, I asked you to buy me a jean jacket. You didn’t ask why. When we got to Gap Kids, all they had were denim vests. You bought me one, no questions. Truth: I wanted denim outerwear like Paul Reiser wore on Mad About You so that he would love me back.
When I was eight, my teacher told you (during a parent-teacher conference) that during recess, I mostly sat and dug holes in the sandbox. When you asked me why I did that, I shrugged. Truth: I had hidden a penny there weeks before and was trying to retreive it.
When I was 13, we went to the beach. I said I didn’t feel like swimming, and so I sat in the sand and read YM in my Hawaiian board shorts and tankini. Truth: I had gotten my period and was worried the blood would attract sharks and was too afraid to use a tampon because I didn’t want to lose my virginity “until at least prom.”
When I was 14 I got my first boyfriend. You wouldn’t let us hang out in my room with the door closed. Truth: Sometimes when you would go back downstairs, I would close the door and we would watch the Disney channel even louder. We didn’t kiss until after we had been “going out” for two weeks because I had been too worried about our braces locking together.
When I was 14 and a half, said boyfriend and I went to the movies. When you asked what we were seeing, I told you it was a re-release of E.T. Truth: It was an R-rated movie with nudity, which made us both uncomfortable.
When I was 16, I got my driver’s license. You let me go to Josh’s party one night, and told me not to drink if I was planning on driving. I may have rolled my eyes at your parental advice. Truth: I didn’t drink that night, and had never had a drink in my life. I didn’t have my first alcoholic beverage until freshman year of college, and it was a Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
Emma Barrie has also written for the New York Times and This Recording.
Photo via CastawayVintage