12 October. I am grateful for unusual mom and daughter bonding moments. Me waxing and plucking Kate, in the usual areas that need attention, brings much hilarity and genuine appreciation from my teenager. I was taken aback by her commenting how lucky she is I do it. It seems not all mums do. I just wish it wasn’t always last minute. Then again, she is my daughter.
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.
I love what Lynn said about her being precious. About what is precious to her. This unchartered territory thing of teens is quite challenging. Often delightfully so, but sometimes, I am alarmed. And not at the teens. I seem to be ranting a tad, but I too tend to be a little precious about the things that I hold dear. And I hold all children dear. I know I’m not a prude and I really think I have quite an open and often novel view of the world. But I just don’t think its ok for parents to have parties for 14 turning 15 year olds and provide alcohol. I’m not sure if they are just lost, misguided, trying too hard to be cool parents or have just given up. Which would be sad. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. But that would mean being a bit behind, a bit unaware, maybe a bit blinkered. Not having an open view of the world as it is today. And I think I do. So is being ‘a cool parent’ refusing to set boundaries and consequences. Just giving up on parenting. Not caring enough. I know kids will experiment and should experiment and I know I shudder at what I got up to as a teenager, and that it is necessary to challenge the boundaries, and I know we would prefer to have our kids misbehaving in our homes. But really. The boundaries need to be set to be able to be challenged. Alcohol was never provided at our parties when I was 14. Or 15. We were not encouraged to get trashed. Am I wrong? Have I really got it that wrong? Am I really just old fashioned? And if that is what it is, then I am really cool with not being a cool parent. Because I love my kids far more than I love being cool.