The daughter totally loved her gift and it went off with her on her trip. I have everything crossed that today goes well for her and she gets what she expects to and more out of it.
She met a lovely young man recently too who is very supportive of her plans but it’s very early days so she’s in the flush of young love and romance which is beautiful to see.
It’s all about to happen for her and I’m so happy. Slightly jealous that I’m not young again, slightly jealous that I was never in the position she’s in, slightly accomplished because I’ve worked myself exhausted to ensure she has the opportunities she has and slightly shell shocked that the bringing up is finally done and over. I very much feel a sense of it being up to her now… at last.
It’s such a strange feeling, it’s like I’ve been responsible for this life for 21 years and now I’m handing it over to the person it truly belongs to. I have a great sense of having been a guardian or custodian and not an owner.
I think we often underestimate the huge responsibility that is, if we own something it is ours to do with as we wish, whereas when we are taking care of something for someone else it is not ours to do with as we wish, we have to consider the day when we hand it over, when we have to be accountable for what we did, for the state it’s in, for how it looks, how it functions, how manageable it is from there on in.
If we messed up when we were the custodian the consequence can reverberate through generations to come and similarly if we didn’t mess up. It’s a huge responsibility parenthood and it’s not for the faint hearted. I think some of the most responsible parents are those who choose not to have children, they are aware of the task and don’t feel equipped or confident enough to take it on and I think that’s much better than doing it anyway, churning out kids and not having a care or a clue what you’re going to produce at the end of it.
I’m proud of the job I’ve done with her, I feel I’ve handed her over a life today that has been well developed, well equipped and which has a lot of potential and promise and which could be very versatile, I’m satisfied that I did a good job. Not the best, I made mistakes but overall, what I handed over today was an improvement on what I was given to work with back when I was sent out into the world on my own. Improvement is good. I reversed or at least shifted a cycle within my family where damaged mother produced damaged daughter and at times it was hard at times it was easy, at times I had to think it through and at others it came naturally.
When we talk with pride about our kids we can hear other people thinking “oh God, perfect mother, perfect kid, gushy bloody parent talk again”, I hear it all of the time but why shouldn’t we be proud of our achievements as parents? Why shouldn’t we be able to love our children and be proud of what they accomplish? Why does society on the one hand blame mothers/parents for all of its ills and on the other make us feel embarrassed when we’ve done a good job? I wonder if more people felt they could take pride in what has after all been their hardest, most challenging, full-time in the 24 hour, 7 day a week sense, longest ever (21 years each!) project that more people would feel equipped and supported in the role and produce more lovely young people to take up the challenge of running this world in the future.
Society judges us largely on what is visibly attained, the material. It’s fine for me to invite people to come admire my new big house, it’s perfectly acceptable to flash pictures of my new car around the office, it’s a real talking point preparing for my exotic holiday and afterwards recounting tales of amazing scenery and wonderful experiences, we party when we get a new job, a promotion, a new qualification, people send us cards and buy us presents even, friends go out of their way to support our business ventures, the writing of a book or the opening of an exhibition of our photographs, paintings, drawings… but dare to gush about our children, our biggest, most significant and most important contribution to society and we’re made to feel as if there’s something wrong with us, we shouldn’t boast, or brag and some people even hope that our children fail and burst our bubble, some people hope that our perfect child has some sordid secret waiting to be exposed to shatter our illusion. How sad is that… and I experience that within my own family, a family to which my children belong by blood.
I’m proud of what I have done and I’m proud of the beautiful, confident lady I’ve produced and if that makes me a gushy mother, then I’m proud to be that too.