When You Realize You’ve Become Your Parents

Spoilers: Netflix’s Abducted in Plain Sight

I am 14 years old, and the thin sliver of sun peeking in my bedroom window from behind the drawn curtains is enraging me. I am wondering if the pillow that I’ve recently placed over my face will eventually smother me, allowing me the rest my teenage body so desperately needs.

It’s not only the sun that is making my blood boil this morning but also the sound of my parents drinking coffee in the living room. CBC is blaring, and they are screaming nonsensical drivel at the newscaster about current events.

It is the year 2000, and I do not give a shit about what is happening in the Canadian news. I want to sleep. Is that too much to ask? It’s also freezing in this goddamn house because these people who I call Mom and Dad are too cheap to turn the heat up in this bitch.

Why do they insist on making my life so difficult?

Throwing the comforter off my goose-pimpled body, I stomp my feet onto the cold laminate flooring of my room. Haven’t I been asking them to get me a rug for in here? Just another one of their slights to add to the growing list of why these people are quickly becoming my mortal enemies.

“Oh, she’s up,” Mom snickers to Dad as she hears me approaching from down the hallway of our doublewide.

I pass my brother Dustin’s room, cluttered with soccer equipment and the musky aroma of sweaty boxers, and wonder if the filth is what keeps him warm at night.

“God, you guys, do you have to be so loud!” I scream, my voice is croaky and wild. I am wearing an oversized t-shirt and gym shorts. My hair is the color of unnatural fluorescent oranges from my recent hair dye experimentation.

“It was about time you got up anyways,” Dad says calmly. “You kids would sleep your whole life away if it wasn’t for us.”

“I hate you!” I cry while stomping my feet and asking them why they are trying to kill me with sleep deprivation.

“Oh Lord, give me strength,” Mom mutters. This is her go-to line anytime Dustin or I give her any trouble. “Oh Lord, give me the strength to deal with this child of mine.”

“We don’t even go to church! Why are you saying that?” I am manic now, resolute in the idea that Dan and Colleen Sawyer were sent to this earth to kill me by way of pure and absolute annoyance.

They begin laughing and tell me I could have it a lot worse than them. This only gives insult to this already flagrant display of fuckery.

Their hearty chuckling leads me to believe that they must undoubtedly want me to die. This blatant display of ignorance of their daughter’s basic human needs is appalling. Appalling, I say!

So I stomp back to my room and fling myself down upon my bed. I immediately nod off into a fretful dreamscape wherein I am fending off zombies with nothing but a headless Barbie and a pair of kitchen tongs and wondering in my subconscious mind if life will ever become any easier.

Nineteen years later, my husband and I are lying in bed. We are drinking French pressed coffee and reveling in the warmth of our fuzzy cotton sheets. Netflix, a video streaming database, is something I would never have imagined in my younger years. Now, it is what my life revolves around.

Last night, Jamie and I watched Abducted in Plain Sight. This morning, we are still talking about this abomination.

“But like seriously, I don’t care if it’s the ‘70s, what kind of parents are like, ‘Oh, you’re a convicted pedo? Yes, most certainly go and lie down in bed alone with our 12-year-old child. That definitely sounds legitimate.’ It’s absolute insanity!” Jamie is on a roll now. He is half-laughing, half-yelling at the absurdity of the story.

“What gets me is the dad. ‘Oh hello, I am a heterosexual man, but, yes, I will still jerk you off in this car, despite having no homosexual tendencies in the past. I know that I sometimes get the hankering for a good old fashion handy J from a neighbor, so it’s only appropriate for me to assist you in your needs.’”

“What?! You married my 12-year-old daughter? Yes, I will engage in an eight-month-long affair with you after the fact.”

We are now laughing hysterically, and although I know somewhere deep in my blackened soul that we will probably go to hell for this, I cannot stop. The story of this family is undeniably saddening, and I cannot imagine what they went through, but come on, people, how? How could this happen? As parents, we’ve got one job: Not to sleep with the person who abducted our child and married them under Mexican jurisdiction. It’s a simple concept.

It is at this point that Sophie comes tottering into our room and aggressively shoves me into the middle of the bed to climb in beside me. She is strong for an eight-year-old, so I try not to mess with her early in the morning because she is not a pre-lunch kind of person.

“Hello, my small friend,” I say while bombarding her little face with kisses. She doesn’t reply, which is her way when dealing with any timeframe before 10 a.m. Lars follows not far behind.

“Oh my god, do you guys have to be so loud?” He says as he clambers atop our bed and lays directly on top of Jamie.

“We didn’t wake you guys up, did we? Jamie asks. He is oblivious to our exceedingly loud parent voices.

“Yeah, you did,” our 10-year-old deadpans.

“No, we’re not those kinds of parents,” I say, thinking back to my mom and dad.

“How are you still even talking about that show? Get over it!” Sophie yells now that the sleep has begun to clear from her eyes.

“You guys are so loud.” They both say, as though they had rehearsed it.

And I think about how so many things have changed. Perhaps it isn’t yet ornery teenagers that we are fending off, but I can see the shift in the making. I hold my family close as we all snuggle in our queen size sheets, and I think about the life we are carving out for ourselves.

I then think about the family in that documentary and say, “Well, guys, it could be a lot worse.”

Then Jamie and I laugh and laugh while our children roll their eyes and leave the room.

Mother, Wife, Writer.

Keep up with Lindsay on Instagram, Twitter and medium.com