In order to address the concerns of many of my readers, allow me to answer the question I keep being asked; "What does Emma do when you are golfing?"
For starters, let me remind everyone that she is an only child. She has always been perfectly comfortable spending time by herself. When we are on holidays, it really isn't much different. We stay in spacious two bedroom condos, with full kitchens, two bathrooms and a balcony or patio depending on where we are. In other words, she is not stuck in a cramped hotel room. She always brings her laptop, her Ipod and books and whatever else is amusing her at the time (right now she likes Sudoku puzzles). We always make sure our cell phones are charged and she knows we will drop everything and come home if necessary. She knows the rules - never open the door - not even for housekeeping and double lock the door.
The other day, I asked her if she thought we were bad parents for leaving her to go golfing and she said, "That's what makes you good parents, mom." She is at that age where she likes to feel independent. She makes her own (albeit simple) meals, watches what she wants on TV, listens to her music, and we are not around to nag her about anything she chooses to do. She likes it! She wants us to go out for dinner on our anniversary on Saturday.....without her, because "a husband and wife are supposed to have a romantic dinner on that day" she said. (I'm thinking Bojangles, a bucket of balls at the driving range and a bevy at the beach, but we'll see) The American dollar is killing us this year!
We also don't golf every single day - and on the off days, we do whatever she wants to do. Yesterday, we took her mini-golfing and she always wins (funny how that happens) and then we went to this really cool Tiger preservation place. The group who runs it are trying to save these rare tigers from extinction and we got to see tigers of all ages, even little tiger cubs - it was great, because it wasn't a zoo, and all the proceeds went to the cause. She bought a stuffed tiger but we had to draw the line at having your photo taken with a baby cub ($60 - U.S) and told her she could bring her own kids back one day and get a family photo and tell them that when she was young, her parents wouldn't cough up the bucks for this "once in a lifetime experience", but she would! Poor kid, so hard done by!
She got to go to Cold Stone Creamery and build herself a disgusting ice cream concoction - gummy bears in ice cream - yuck! We ate lunch at TGIF -( we had a good experience there last summer in Virginia); and she ordered an appetizer for her meal - deep fried mac n' cheese. (I really had to hold back on that one - leave her alone mom - she's on holidays - allow it! Even worse - she's going to Scotland this summer and "can't wait to try a deep-fried Snickers bar" - all the rage there apparently.) Thank god I won't be there to witness that!
It's not easy letting your kid grow up. I'm already starting to second guess our decision to let her go to Scotland with her arts camp this summer. The scenes I imagine in my mind are pretty scary sometimes (never should have watched that latest Liam Neeson flick, Taken). We worry about them all the time, but I don't want her to live a life of fear. Fear is what holds you back from really living. So you see, it's not Emma who has trouble with being left on her own, it's her parents who have to get over leaving her behind. In a way, we are preparing for the time when she leaves us.