Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Let her go mom - just let her go
I have often wondered if I don't give my daughter enough credit when it comes to her social skills and manners. As parents, we don't always see how they interact in the world when we are not present to encourage them, correct them, or speak up on their behalf. It is as though I can't imagine she has a voice of her own sometimes. I know I am guilty of treating her like a child in this regard and that is why it came as such a lovely surprise today when I got a call from the volunteer co-ordinator of a local seniors' residence where she is about to start spending some time. As part of her high school community service requirements, she will spend a couple of hours a week helping out with various social programs for the residents of the home. Last night she attended a three hour orientation that introduced them to the facility and the staff and briefed all the volunteers on their duties and responsibilities and the minimum commitment they expect. When I dropped her off, I did the usual motherly lecture - be polite, shake hands, try not to appear too shy, ask questions, pay attention and on and on ad- nauseum. She was about to fly alone on this one - I was not staying with her to hold her hand - she would be making her own impression without any input from "mom". When I picked her up 3 hours later and quizzed her as to what she had learned - she was vague and not too forthcoming. It had been a long day for her and it did not surprise me that she was tired and didn't feel like talking about too much. I let it alone. She has one more interview prior to being given a work schedule. She still has to be interviewed before she knows if she will be chosen for the job. So, imagine my delight when the co-ordinator called to change her appointment time and then proceeded to tell me how lovely she was, and how she had presented herself confidently, was polite, mannerly and attentive and thought she would fit nicely into their volunteer group. Was she talking about my daughter? Don't get me wrong - I think very highly of her as well, (as have most of her teachers) but hearing it from another adult that had no reason to praise her, other than wanting to share her opinion with me was one of those "proud mother" moments that are all too rare and most welcome. Like I said, I really don't give her enough credit and this was a little wake-up call for me. She's way more ready to fly than I think. Not that my work is done, but I may be getting closer to retirement here than I realized. All these years, you wonder if all the nagging and teaching have sunk in and then something like this happens and you get your answer. She's turning out OK. Better than OK.