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.
This should probably have been filed under the grateful posts 365 category, post entitled eight. If only you read these posts in order and as I intended them. It starts at ahemmm and then follows by category, by day, some under stuff, a few under why and grateful posts daily under grateful posts 365. And no I am not a control freak. And maybe I do take myself a little too seriously. And yes I am learning to let go. Or perhaps I am being let go. On the way to school today for the start of year 10 for her, Kate said today is the first ever start of a new school year that she has not felt in the slightest bit anxious. Not one butterfly. This might not seem remarkable but to those who know us well, Kate has the distinguishing characteristic of having cried every single day on being left at school from the start of Grade 000 until midway through Grade 2. (That’s like two years of kindy, one year of prep, year 1 and year 2) Since then every change has resulted in significant anxiety usually heralded by sleepless nights and sore tummies and a very supportive mother yelling at her to pull herself together. That would be me, but in my defense, I lost my patience in the fifth year. So, I am not sure if it is simply age, or a combination of factors. One of them definitely being a harsh exposure to change (change her mother unwittingly had protected her from) and finding herself flourishing in a new world with new rules. A gentle caring less competitive self affirming world. Or maybe it’s just cos her mother has become less of a stressed out, I have to get to work, what am I wearing, hurry up I’m going to be late, fuck the traffic is a nightmare, lock all the doors, don’t answer my phone it could be Assie (my very senior client who has become a very dear friend) I’m trying to do everything and show everyone how fabulous I am, person. It has all become a little gentler, which is helping me to let go. A little.
Today was the first time I heard Kate swear. Hilarious I know considering her mother’s favourite adjective is fucking. As in that dress is fucking nice. No prizes for guessing why she felt the need. Her first relationship. As in this is crap. I am writing it here because it is burning up inside me and I just can’t say it to her … so here goes … I told you so. Whilst I love being right this is one time I wish I wasn’t. It is so hard watching the emotions flit across her face as her childish expectations of how others should behave are shattered one by one. Just when I thought what do I do if it all ends and she crumbles, she sighed, put down her mobile and said this is crap. As in, I just can’t be bothered with this. Hard to disagree with her. It is crap. But as she keeps reminding me, it’s her crap and she has to experience it. I promise I am letting go. But I did manage to dictate a few responses for her first.
I’m not good at being a statistic. As in … another woman trying to find herself by sharing her musings on a blog. But realising that’s not the statistic I hate being, it’s actually one of my own doing, that of another person fearful of starting something in case they don’t do it well. I’m 45 and realised I’m finally accepting I’m good enough. And am happy to be just like all those others grateful for life by sharing an image a day of something I am grateful for. It’s a wonderful way of focussing your energies. It is wonderful to realise how limiting it is to only share one thing. Just today I realised how good I am at talking and not so much at listening. How awful. I was still for a bit. The recurring sound in my ears was like a caress from the wind. just listen just listen just listen. I keep telling mysellf tomorrow will be better, wait until you have something to share, who are you and who would want to read you. Today I just listened and stopped telling myself why not. I had already missed the boat in terms of order, as in starting on the first of the year and ending 365 days later. I love order. Or symmetry. And control. And thats enough to stop me. But today, for a moment I just let go and embraced that now is as good as any a time. Right now I am good enough. And right now is good enough. So January 16 2012 is my new day.