Finishing School for Little Girls

The behaviors and attitudes I’ve seen from you in the last 6 weeks were not a surprise.  Adolescence is a hard time for any child in the most wholesome of households.  It’s supposed to happen.  It’s the breaking-away process.  Without conflict, why would anyone leave the nest?
It is of course even harder if things are difficult within the household, or with one’s health.
“Just make sure you shave … you look old”
Especially after the attitude with which you arrived for Thanksgiving, I did not want responsibility for a second 15 year old girl in New York City.  I took on that rspy for you.  I did not have to make my house as cozy and adolescent-friendly as I worked hard to do, or take 2 days off of work to do so.  I didn’t have to do all this while fighting back a chest cold.  I didn’t have to promise to do my best to represent you as well as possible in front of your best friend.  I didn’t have to dress well, or shave, or treat you better than was returned.  Say thank you.
“Have you called your aunt?”
I was perplexed all of December when it seemed I had to prompt you to call your Aunt Annie, to put me in touch w E’s parents, to plan the trip.  Without saying why, you said “you’re passive-aggressive” to me.  I’m not sure what that term means to you.  Your preparations for the trip seemed passive to me.  Your behavior at Thanksgiving, and now at Christmas, seemed aggressive.  
“We’ve been fighting all month long.”
Perhaps fighting to you was setting standards to me.
“I didn’t feel like talking to your mother.  Fact is, we’re not married and I don’t have to.”
I was having a nice time on my mini-vacation when I didn’t respond to your mother on Monday for a non-emergency.  I didnt feel like coming home.  Before the trip, I wanted to plan to stay longer, past the 26th of December, right through New Year’s Eve, but I’d made my commitment to you, and your friend, first.
“She’s always been a smartass kid.”
You’ve always been irreverent.  I fostered that for the past 15 years.  I’ve always done my best to empower you.  I figured someone else later in your life would kick your ass and take away some of your power ( see “A Boy Named Sue.”)  Now, like providing things for which you couldn’t pay, that is out of date, and apparently has gone wrong.  
“You don’t get to talk.”
Problems started in my eyes when irreverence plus anger became disrespect.
“Judge and jury.”
How fair is that?
“I live this every day.”
There’s no way that I could ever influence you as much as your in-house parents do.  I ain’t stupid.  I can however decide which behaviors I will accept from you.  
Letting you go home was a privilege.  
Having you come here is a privilege.  
By law your mother could not stop you from coming here.  I checked out reservations to come get you.  With the police if necessary.  I chose to not ruin your family’s Christmas Day.
By law I did not have to let you go home. 
“I’m not ready to talk”
Nor was I.  I did think we needed to try — much as we might have, being under the same roof, if I hadn’t let you go home.  Waiting until Monday, no longer fresh and when we would both be involved in our work and school lives I thought not a good idea.  

“Medically speaking … stop your calls and texts … “

“I spent 2 hours crying in the REI bathroom.”
There’s a card you get to play.  It’s the Medical Card.  It’s not like an insurance one or a baseball one.  It’s the get-what-i-want kind.  You can act however you like, whenever you like, and say you have a headache.  Inaccurate?  Unfair?  You’ve learned how to play this and others from various people and various experiences.  
In this case, you were busy manipulating people, telling tales, smack-talking your father and showing off  to your friend.  No matter the gross embarrassment to me — to Amy, Ray, Ed, Kristin, Elizabeth, Brett, Lori, Ma, Pete — I chose to not embarrass you.  I checked out airfares to come see you next weekend to resolve this.  I will not do so because your mother has shown me that I will adversely impact your health.  I don’t want to be part of contributing to your pain.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about … You say my Mom’s stupid.”
I know exactly the reasons for your headaches, and maybe your gastro-gluten problems.  I know exactly.
I can do nothing about it though.  Twenty years from now, maybe you will.  Maybe you’ll be in a position to do something about them.  Maybe not. I hope you do.
“how would you feel … the $1800 you stole from us” 

“this is the longest time since he’s screwed me over”
“we haven’t used his insurance, to make it easier for him”
“we got the parasite test done for you (me) … but you said the results were not important”

I urge you to choose your own words, fight your own battles, let others fight theirs
Choose your counsel, wisely

“you’re passive aggressive”

 what you’re talking about, look at your own behavior, then others

There are decisions you make that will anger, perplex and scare me.  Likewise, no doubt.
“I love you very much.”
Many parents do love their children.  Some parents love their children but dislike their behaviors.  Sometimes its temporary, sometimes forever.
“I am your father, and you’re talking on my phone.”
I am also a person separate from you.  There are things I want, like and don’t like.  There are behaviors in myself and others that I like and don’t like.  
“Whatever I share with you about my life is my choice.”
There are certain parts of my life to which you have no right.  There are certain parts of your life that you will decide to never share with me.  There are communications and information that I might decide in time that you should know about, but for now you are a minor in the eyes of the law, ungrateful and badly-behaved in mine.
“You forced me to meet her.”
No I didn’t.  If I were going to do that, I would have broken the door down.  Wouldn’t be the first time, wouldn’t be the hardest one.
“You’re intimidating.”
Yes, and I find you the same.  
Like I said at Thanksgiving and at REI.  There are no victims between you and me.  There are only decisions and consequences of two independent people.
Think it over.  Call me when you graduate from finishing school.
Your father.