Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

In Case of Emergency

Today I dropped my teenaged daughter off at the international airport to wing her way to another continent with a different language and currency system.  Trying my darnedest not to cry on the hour drive, it was all I could do to make small talk and not fill her head with a 1,001 safety tips.  Biting my lip, I made sure that the bulk of my crying was going to be after I dropped her off.  In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that I did cry and hug her until she was appropriately mortified and I issued only one warning about keeping an eye on her passport.  And purse.  And that she should buy antihistamines as soon as she hit the concourse.

It isn’t as though she hasn’t heard it all.  When she was little, she stared up at me with adorable absorbent wonder when I’d speak, until one day she turned her head in youthful laissez faire, with jaded eyes that silently screamed “What more can you possibly teach me?!”  She’d had a lifetime of “What IF!?…” horror stories as I tried to prepare her for the Worst Case Scenarios Known to Young Woman (which is considerably longer than the abridged version of the Worst Case Scenarios Known to Young Man – I know, I know.  Comment away and send me your emails of complaint).  But all of the well-meaning “Never leave your drink unattended in any social situation” advice doesn’t feel like it amounts to a hill of beans now that I’ve sent her across the world on a foreign adventure (where I hear the food is divine, the temperature hot and the men terribly handsome). 

Those closest in my social circle would probably tell you, I’m not really a hovering helicopter mom, but I’ve also never been the mom to give my children unbridled freedom either.  Somewhere in between the moms I’ve known who let their 4 year olds wander freely among the pine trees in the summer and the ones who chaperone the road trips of 20 year olds – I’ve attempted to walk the fine line that separates involvement from interference.  I have no idea if I’ve been successful, or not.  Those therapy bills don’t usually show up until your adult offspring share them with you (during that window of time when they feel they can tell you that everything ever wrong with them was “your fault.”).

When I was young, I believed I was indestructible.  Graduating from a small private school of the arts in Hollywood, in a pretty funky part of town at that time (at Hollywood and Western), it wasn’t unusual to play Misdemeanor Bingo on one’s way to school: Hookers and Drug Dealers and Vandals.  Oh my!  At 18 years old, I thought nothing of leaving late night recording sessions to drive home and maybe grab a snack at the 7-11 on Vine or a gas station along the way.  Alone.  On weekends I’d drive 350 miles from Los Angeles to Northern California to see family and friends, usually round-trip in less than 36 hours on very little sleep.  Alone.  No matter how much the adults in my life whined about how nervous my independence made them, I did it and thought they were mad for being so skittish.  Now, it’s my turn to see how ill-fitting the shoes they wore really were.

For the next seven weeks I have to trust that my girl is armed with my incessant words of caution riding on her shoulder and her own good sense to guide her.  And if a few guardian angels hitchhike along for the ride, I wouldn’t mind.  As long as they have some antihistamines in their pocket.  And maybe some pepper spray.

Carpe Diem”  — Horace

A new position of responsibility will usually show a man to be a far stronger creature than was supposed.”  — William James

You really should have taken a sweater.  Planes are always cold.”  — Mom

For additional parenting advice (and honestly, lots of life in general), check out the wonderful writings over at The Babble Out —

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