I dropped my fourteen year old at a party last night. Watched her walk in smile and wave. My heart sang and sank. It sang at her beauty, her independence, her kindness. It sank at the loss of control, the fear of the unknown, the fear of her peers, the knowledge of needing to let go. But jeez louise, she is only fourteen. Was I right to let her go? This was a byo party. Openly byo. Yes, by invitation only, with id being checked at the door, but still bring your own booze. Come on. When I fetched her at 12, I drove past packs of kids heading home. Weaving home. Did their parents even know where they were? Girls with heads down in the gutter, vomit all over the road outside the party house. Kate and her friend were all smiles and full of stories. It was a good night, it was a fun night, but mom, everyone was drunk. Everyone. Even their friends who don’t drink. I admit I was very proud and yes relieved at my strong willed daughter. Actually she just isn’t interested yet. The father was there and had to call a passed out fourteen year old girl’s parents. I am so confused by all of this. The kids are going to do it, maybe earlier than I would like but the world is hurtling along for them. They’re dealing with things way before we had to and thats just the way it is. Was it right of these parents to provide a ‘safe’ environment for them to do it in? But what happens when those kids leave that house? Where do their parents think they are? Well I knew and I was there. And I suggest you do too. We can’t keep our girls in a cage, that is simply not the answer, we can only equip them to make the right calls, and to call us no matter what and no matter when. No judgement. Well, I’ll try. So I will continue to live by that, but damn it’s going to be tough. And it’s just too damn soon.