Time to wake up

Rick Ryckeley's picture

For parents across this county your house is peaceful until noon. The sometimes argumentative, always opinionated, eating machines commonly referred too as teenagers are still asleep. If you try to wake them, you can’t. Even the noise from vacuuming their room wouldn’t rouse them.

Not that any parent would want to vacuum the room of a teenager. All the piles of stuff on the floor would first have to be removed. Doing so could prove hazardous to your health. Besides such an undertaking would take hours to accomplish – an eternity to spend in a teenager’s room. When The Boy was a teenager, I couldn’t stand to stay more than two minutes in his room. That’s as long as I could hold my breath.

They sleep like the dead because they have no worries. The thoughts of a house mortgage, car payment, or even worrying about a teenager haven’t even entered their minds — yet. This time of the year their biggest decisions is when to wake up, and whether to go to the lake or beach with their friends.

Unknown to the sleeping, eating machines, their time of slumber is quickly coming to a close. In a few weeks school will start. And the battle of waking up will once again pit parent against teenager.

Growing up, Mom didn’t win the battle too often. The first week of school she would try various means to wake us, but few actually worked. She first tied to shake us while whispering, “Honey, it’s time to wake up.” We ignored her and rolled back over into slumber land.

Later in the week she tried shaking our shoulders. That too didn’t work. We’d just mumble we were getting up. When she left the room we’d fall asleep.

By Friday morning she’d be so frustrated all the covers were pulled off and left in the hallway. Cold, we’d just curl up into a ball. Like one of those pill bugs Goofy Steve was always eating.

The second week of school, Dad entered the war. His battle plan was quite different and extremely effective: Win at all cost and take no prisoners. Monday of the second week of school came and with it blinding overhead lights. Accompanied by a loud voice, “Y’all kids get up and I mean now!” Still, despite the warning, we resisted.

Tuesday the lights came on again, but this time there wasn’t a loud voice. We thought we had won. Until, one by one, our mattresses were overturned sending us to the floor with a THUD. Even from under the mattress we could hear, “I told you kids to get up.”

Not to be deterred, on the way to school we decided to make a stand. In a moment of solidarity, rare between four brothers and one sister, we decided that once dumped the next morning we all would lie under the mattresses and not move.

Unfortunately not only had we changed our battle tactics, but so did Dad. Wednesday came and with it overhead lights and the dreaded washcloth. Not just any washcloth. Dad used a washcloth that he had soaked in water, and stored in the freezer for ten minutes. Placed over the face it sent rivers of icy wetness down our necks and backs.

Since its invention the wet, cold washcloth has been the most effective weapon in the parent’s arsenal to wake a sleeping teenager.

Thursday morning came, the lights were switched on and Dad’s tactics had changed once again. He still had an air horn from the Braves game. The long HONK reverberated off the walls and sent us all scrambling wide-eyed to the floor.

Dad smiled and said gently, “Please get up, children. It’s time for school.”

Still traumatized today, I don’t go to Braves games for fear of those hand-held air horns.

On Friday no one needed to come in our rooms. We all were dressed and ready to go even before the alarm sounded.

Now in no way am I suggesting that you parents out there try any one of these aforementioned tactics to wake your sleeping teenager when it’s time for school.

To the contrary, I suggest you try all of them.

And what do you do if the sleeping teenager questions your authority on the first morning of school?

In a robotic voice, announce, “Resistance is futile.”

Trust me, by the end of week two, they will understand.

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