The ongoing adventures of mother and daughter

October 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm 2 comments

Where do I begin? So much has happened in the past few months — most of it in my head, but some effects are visible. My daughter will soon be 16 and her future was not yet clear. The neighbors were already whispering, and kept asking what she was going to do. She finished her mandatory schooling and is at a turning point. She wanted to start a 3-year apprenticeship as a hairdresser, but couldn’t find a suitable position. She flunked one subject in school, but has an otherwise impressive report card. But that flunked subject means she did not successfully finish school. I won’t bother to rant on that subject. (It was not just her fault!) I’ve finally calmed down, and don’t want to get going on that again.

So, some of you may know the situation: your young adult does not live up to certain expectations that someone invented somewhere along the line. What do you do? Well, I’ll try to keep this brief, since it’s a long story. Let’s just say, I let my daughter down and was emotionally unavailable for quite some time. Thus I made more than two mistakes during the past 16 years. She is angry, I am sad. Recently, I spent much time reflecting and mourning, and decided to make the best of things. (That is what I do best in life.)

I decided to be here for her now as best I could, in whatever way she would let me, and support her now. I do not mean that I spoil her or sweep the pebbles out of her way. I’m just emotionally here. I decided that I believe in her and know she will find her way. Take a good look at her mother and one immediately recognizes that detours and apparent dead ends run in the family.

So over the past few months, my support for her and belief in her grew. I trusted that all would work out. The universe is looking out for her as well. She has her destiny. I just happened to be reading about lots of famous, successful people who screwed up in school. I comforted her, saying: “You’re on the path to fame and fortune!” And I stopped worrying.

She is registered for a one-year course in a training program, run by the department of labor, basically to prepare her for the work force (and to keep her busy until she finds something she wants to do.) That program starts next week. I enjoyed having some time with her. It was convenient that only my son had to get up so early and out of the house, since it was an adjustment for him to the new school, and an adjustment for me to be working. By mid-October, we are somewhat settled, and ready for the next schedule adjustment.

So what happens? She gets a letter today from the local employment office saying that her favorite hairdresser is looking for an apprentice! She called up, immediately got an appointment for this afternoon. She got right to work on her C.V. and letter of application. I didn’t act like a know-it-all, but helped her any time she asked. I even cautiously suggested an improvement of the first paragraph. But I let her do it without interfering all that much. She could sense that I had faith in her ability, so she was able to accept my help. That felt good!

We got there early and the boss was busy. She dropped off the application and came back out to the car. I told her to go back in and wait until the boss had time to see her. She yelled and said: “It’s too late. Just go home!” I tried to talk reasonably, but she refused to listen. We drove home.

She went into the living room to watch TV. I told her, if they called, I was willing to drive her back again right away. I went into my room. I thought to myself: “Should I call up and say the she’d been so nervous that she wasn’t thinking? Should I call and ask for a second chance?” I sat on my hands and said, “No. Don’t get involved. It will work out.” And I repeated to myself: “They will call. They will call.” Five minutes later my daughter said: “Mom, can we go back? They just called and the boss wants to talk with me personally.” I smiled and said: “It worked.” She got a suspicious look on her face and said: “Did you call them?” How happy I was to say: “No. I just hoped they would.”

We drove back. She didn’t want me to go inside with her because I was wearing my converse sneakers with the peace signs. I said: “Well, you can just explain that your mother is weird.” And I promised to keep my mouth shut. (Ha! Imagine that!) The boss wanted to speak with me as well, so I went in — with my sneakers on. No problem. We had a little chat and it was soon settled that she would go tomorrow and spend the day there, so they can check out the chemistry.

On the way out, I was grinning. She commented on my self-satisfied grin. I said: “You don’t understand. I’m happy because the universe…” and I started to explain my theory. She interrupted me: “Just write it down. Write a book: Letters to my daughter: all the things she didn’t want to hear. Or how about What I learned about life through my daughter.” Then she laughed. I asked: “Do you have another book title?” No, it was something else.

And we drove home into the sunset, one smiling mother and one smiling daughter. Everything isn’t perfect, but we’re getting closer step by step. I’m learning to be the mother she needs, and it feels right. And I couldn’t help thinking: “What will the neighbors say when they find out she’s an apprentice at the most exclusive hairdresser in town?” But I’m not worried about that now. I’m much more delighted at the fact that I’m learning to listen to her, not smother her with my “knowledge” and experience, appreciate her as she is, and believe in her. God, does that feel good!

Entry filed under: Family/Relationships, mothers and daughters. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

When enough is enough No big deal

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Samantha  |  October 9, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    What a wonderful post! No one is perfect and we all have our shortcomings. The difference between what you’re doing and what many do is using it as a catalyst for change.

    Congrats to your daughter on the road that lies ahead…and to you for sitting that phone call out!

  • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  October 9, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you. It’s such a wonderful change. My daughter doesn’t have to become something, she simply is. And she is following her path. Funny that it can take such a long time to realize that. Although, now that I think of it, a wise friend told me all along that my daughter would do fine.
    It’s just another example of the reward of letting go. By letting go of the need to control, I can actually enjoy her and who she is so much more! And I hope so much that these stories encourage other people to see things differently, try a new perspective, or whatever.


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