There are many things about my daughter that I admire tremendously, even wonder where the hell she got it from. Despite her tremendously poor organizational skills that keep her from keeping her room even slightly clean, advising of important events before the deadline is staring us in the face, or remembering to turn in the homework that she worked so hard at completing, her sometimes less than logical response to even the simplest of questions, I can’t think of anyone that I want to strive to be more like other than her.
A few weeks ago, she came to tell me that she did not want to go to a 4-year college anymore. She would start her college education at a junior college and transfer after she completes her general education requirements. You have to understand that her older brother started out on that same path. They are not the same person but, the likelihood that their experiences would be similar are greater than not. I don’t want her living at home pissing me off on a daily basis because she thinks she is grown because she turned 18. 18 is not grown and for anyone who thinks it is, you must be 18, and in that case I am not talking to you until you have at least 5 more years of life/wisdom under your belt.
I learned with my eldest that there is a reason that it is best for children to go away to school. They need to grow and mature under the umbrella of parent ultimate responsibility while not under the roof of the home for which parent’s are responsible. They need to experience life altering connections that happen away at college. They need to have to make decisions on their own without the watchful eye of mom or dad or both. And most importantly, they don’t need me knowing every little thing about their stupid decisions when they are making stupid decisions. Make your mistakes, fail, call mom and tell me about it, get back up on your feet, make more mistakes, make more mistakes, make more mistakes, come home for vacation.
The Girl-in-the-Middle fought it for a minute.
Her: It’s my choice, I will be 18 and technically grown.
Me: 18 is not grown. Go in the other room and ask your “grown” brother.
Her: I am not like him, mom.
Me: You are exactly right. And I’ll be damned if you are going to disappoint me the way he did. You don’t have that option. You are going away to college because it is my choice. Enough said.
She huffed and puffed and went to her room pissed and the most beautiful thing was that she let it go. About two or so days later, she had accepted that what mom said was law and it was for her own good. To her brother’s friend she commented, “I can’t go to a junior college because That One (pointing to me, of course) won’t let me. But, she was not angry. She was content knowing that mom wants what is best for her even when she does not see what mom sees. She started talking about which schools she would apply to attend and yesterday reminded me of the pending deadline for those applications.
She is so funny and not like I was at that age. If I didn’t want to do anything, I found ways to get around it. When my mother woke me to iron her clothes against my will, I would turn the iron on warm and stand over her skirt going over it with the iron. My mother would be upset that the wrinkles were not out and send me back to do it again. She would touch the iron, which I turned up before going to give my mother the skirt, and wonder why the wrinkles were still there. She’d send me back. I’d turn down the iron. I’d give her the skirt. She’d send me back. We’d play this game back and forth until my mother, pissed and blessing me out, would go iron the skirt herself. Eventually she stopped waking me because she could get it done faster herself. So cruel…I know.
If I didn’t want to go to a 4-year college, I would innocently forget the deadlines and figure a way to blame it all on my mom so she would feel guilty for letting me down. “You told me you would pay the application fee when you got paid. I already entered all of the info and just needed to make the payment.” Yep, shift the blame…I was good at that. But, the Girl-in-the-Middle is not me. She may not want to do it my way but, mom has spoken so she has no choice but to accept it and move on. So she moves on as if nothing ever happened and the 4-year thing was her idea in the first place.
That girl can really piss me off beyond any bit of imagination but, truth be told, I wish I were more like her. I am so in love with That One and I will keep pushing her to do right by herself until the time that she pushes back strong enough that I know she is truly ready and all grown up.