I debated on how to approach this post because it is of a personal nature and I always wonder, just how much should I share. When it’s about me and my experiences, that’s one thing, but when it’s about someone else (an actual person), then I want to be careful. This post is about my daughter and while she’s an open book in so many ways, that doesn’t mean I need to take advantage of that. However, I simply could not go without writing about her today.
It’s her birthday. She’s seventeen.
Do you remember seventeen?
I do and that is why I am excited for her, but terrified as a parent.
Fortunately for us she is ridiculously mature and, as I’ve come to suspect, born in the wrong century. She longs for the simpler times of pre-FB / texts/computers when people talked face-to-face. She is frustrated with the world’s focus on consumerism and doesn’t understand why people are judged by the way they dress to an interview.
She is focused on what she believes she wants to do with her life and while the ultimate goal may change, we are pleased that this means that she is working hard in school, seeking volunteer opportunities and doing research FOR FUN.
In many ways my daughter is my opposite and she challenges me on a daily basis. She CANNOT get to the point, she HAS to talk at all times, she argues against basic principles and laws of nature, she has a really, really hard time making a decision, and she frequently steps in as Acting-Mother…even when I’m right there.
However, she has made me stop and reflect on a lot of my short-comings: my impatience, my tendency to overlook the details, my lack of creativity, and my appreciation for the now. In so many ways I am in awe of her ability to comfort and relate to people of all ages, her determination and certainty to move towards her drive, and her willingness to let go when it’s time.
We are yin and yang in many ways, but we are learning a lot too. She has helped me embrace my girly-ness and I am helping understand the concept of comfortable silence. She is completely, 100% comfortable in her own skin – an issue that I have struggled with all my life, but have become much more forgiving of myself. I am explaining that money is not the root of all evil and why she needs to understand financial issues. She’s finally coming around on this.
We have had numerous talks about joining the work world, the challenges she has, my experiences, and the contrast between what we wish would happen and what really happens. She often gets riled about the deception and game playing, but I’ve tried to tell her to learn her social lessons in high school and keep them in the back of her mind…she will refer to them often in the upcoming years.
And recently, with all the blah blah of generations in the workplace and their needs and wants, I am much more aware of what she is going to be facing in the upcoming years and how we can be ready for kids like her (and how they need to be ready for us). As for career advice, I don’t tell her crap like if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life…or make your passion your career…I tell her you will work places that you don’t like the job, or your boss, or your co-workers. I tell that’s okay, because you will also have jobs that are great. And above all else, I tell her she is not entitled to anything (beyond the minimum requirements), but she does have choices. We always do.
So, I have decided to celebrate her birthday by showcasing some of her recent art pieces – which I personally think are great. Despite the obvious talent, she is not interested in making her passion her career – she wants it to remain her escape and outlet.
Definitely a good attitude to have now and in the upcoming years.
Happy Birthday Audrey!