What life is like being a parent to a 15yr old in your late twenties — pt.1

It’s that time of the year again where I throw my annual Game of Thrones viewing party.  I am quite bummed this year because I normally have a REALLY well thought out menu like weeks in advance. However, with the 15 year old living with me this year for the past 8 months, life has NOT been easy and it’s been a pain in the ass quite frankly.  To explain this phenomenon also known as the Chinese Relative Guilt, I have a 15 year old living with me who is from China, he is my cousin from my mom’s side, and I am his legal guardian/parent while he attends high school and college here.  Was this my choice? Absolutely not.  Who sold my uncle and aunt the idea of shipping their kid here for me to take care while they stay in China? My mother of course, who is ever so enthusiastically campaigning for our entire extended family to move to the United States, particularly California, especially Sacramento, and if the real estate market is favorable and has the supply, definitely buy a house within our gated community. Preferably not on the other side of this circular gate, but within 50 paces. Is my mother here to help me since she was the one who brazenly volunteered me (and my poor boyfriend) the parental duties of a teenager? Nope.  My mom is actually in China at the moment.  And even when she was here, she rarely picked him up from school and never came home until it was the wee hours of the morning. My mother parties with her friends like a twenty something year old would five nights out of the week, and instead of beer pong, they play mahjong instead.  Were my feelings or willingness to take up the task ever questioned or even considered? In true old school Communist fashion, individual opinions doesn’t matter.  The Collective (as in the extended family network of uncles, aunts and what not) has already decided it for me.

Quite frankly, it was the Chinese Relative Guilt that’s what got me into this mess really.  I am too patriotic — as the 15yr old calls it.  I have neither the courage nor the heart to say no to anyone who is in my family because one simply does not question the decision made for you by your elders.  Why not? Some call it filial piety, I call it being a pushover nice person.  Especially if that person was your mom, and she is the matriarch of the entire extended family. For example, when they collectively decided that my old commuter car was too crappy and I didn’t needed a new car, I should buy a new one that gets the best mpg in the market because who knows, I might also have to drive their kid around.  At the end of the day, I do have an option — I can tell them I can’t do this anymore and I want to send their child to Homestay instead, and say fuck it all, but that would just mean I am weak and lazy, and I HATE being associated with the word or thought of being lazy.

However, as you can see in an earlier Instagram post, my faith was sealed the moment the carpool sticker arrived and I was happier than a fat kid at a buffet.

Sleep, what’s that? Staying out late? What’s that?

Moreover, my poor boyfriend is also caught in the web of constant chauffeuring with no end in sight. Have our lives changed? Absolutely.  We attend swim meets instead of going on date nights now. I stay home to cook for a horde famished hyenas (really it’s just 3 people in the house but the 15yr old somehow manages to put away more food than I can keep up cooking) and we don’t go out for fancy dinners anymore.  In fact, I haven’t been to one of those in about 7 months.  I have neither the financial ability nor the patience to take a 15yr old to anywhere that doesn’t serve it all-you-can-eat style.  It is true that all he really needs to survive are some Hot Pockets and steady WiFi, but he isn’t the most difficult nor the easiest teenager to live with.  In fact, he makes it his mission to badger us everyday every other day whether if we have some form of entertainment planned in the upcoming weekend for him. Most of the time, I just laugh at his face and ignore his entitled ass and tell him to go clean the toilets if he wants his ridiculous $80 monthly allowance.  He does clean all of the toilets in the house and he does an okay job on the bowl and the sink, but don’t count on him to get on the floor and wipe the piss off the ground.  I still have to do the mopping.  When I was his age, I’d be lucky if I get $20 bucks from my mom in a year.  But hey, with the inflation and the manual labor that he is somewhat contributing, it’s not that bad I suppose.

Especially when I get to “deduct” random amounts from him whenever he pisses me off or commits an act of stupidity.

This is Andy, the 15yr old at his first American dance, the Homecoming

Here's Andy, my cousin who is here as international student, and I am also his legal guardian. I went with him to buy his dress shirt and sports coat, told him that when it's time to take a girl out for a formal dance, he has to take her wherever she wants to go, pay for the dinner, photos, provide transportation, and get her a corsage. He did most of it correct except for the last part. He told me that she didn't need a corsage so I didn't have to worry about it (so I didn't). 30mins before the dance, he frantically texts me while I was at the grocery store that he didn't know he was suppose to get her a corsage. Good thing I have made it before for my own dances in the past, so I grabbed some bouquets and made his date a bracelet corsage. Turns out she liked it a lot, and my entourage (3 friends visiting from out of town + Tyler) and I tagged along for an impromptu dinner at the same restaurant he and his date were dinning at. I tried my best to embarrass him, by sneaking behind their table multiple times to take paparazzi style photos. Turns out he and his friends didn't find me embarrassing at all… Because as soon as I pull the phone to take photos of them, all the kids in the group date were like owwwww is that an iPhone 6+? Moral of the story is, you can't be embarrassing when they think you're cool.

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During the winter holidays, my extended family members enjoy tormenting me by shipping all of their Chinese offsprings to my home refugee camp for a week or so of pure torture American holiday experience. 

I told them all to hold on to Tyler in Chinese. Tyler didn't know what was going on haha

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More will come to me later, but this is my rant for now.