This was my daughter’s mantra on my weekend visit into Halifax, the city of students.
For us, a brunch out, a day of shopping and a dinner out were the extent of our madness, but was it was great to do whatever we wanted and take all the time we wanted eating and talking.
What could be more fun than spending time with a beloved child who has grown into a magnificent adult?
We even traded roles at one point as she led me through a maze of malls in order to catch our second bus to the destination mall. I needed to pee and I was hot and tired, and started moaning about how we could have just stayed in the North End and looked at the second hand shops.
She wisely paid no attention to me, made a short stop into a chocolate shop where we jammed lots of sweets into our mouths and carried on. The clerk at the store expressed shock that we did not need a bag for our bonbons, but we were on our giggling way before his comment about the number of treats sunk in.
She got me to Winners, where I did in fact find a dress for the upcoming wedding at the happy price of $29. This was not the only time when I felt like my Mama role of doting benign dictator was floating away.
She had been right about the shopping and I was the whiney kid! And I saw how gradually I will not be the one in control anymore. Just as it is with me and my Mom now, I told myself to just let it happen, and enjoy the blessing of real friendship with a daughter.
She is a marvelous person, such a person. But she has some odd struggles, such as thinking that Joe and I would ever be disappointed in her for not becoming an academic or the classic hipster kid, lost, angst ridden and pessimistic.
I am not sure why we would want this for here, just so that she could be like us when we were younger? When I talk about my behavior in high school I remind her that my parents had split up and my sister had jumped off a bridge, just for starts, so I was in a different space, and the seventies were undeniably a different time.
I really don’t know any kids her age with as much drive or moral certitude. She is a bright light, and I take no credit for this. When people meet her they see what they want to see, a bright eyed and optimistic young woman in a nice outfit. They assume she comes from a suburban home with pushy parents and has not had many life experiences.
In high school, clean cut, ambitious and hardworking, she edited the school year book and started her career as a freelance writer. But she would sometimes find herself defending and explaining her life style up to that point, a life history that included moving every few years, no home ownership, travel, home birth, home schooling and non-vaccinating. She didn’t even have antibiotics until she was 16 years old.
She may have thought for a short time that Joe and I would judge her for becoming a business woman, but we have been pretty clear that we admire her abilities and just happen to be bad at it ourselves.
She is now studying business with even more energy and enthusiasm than she applied to journalism for the last five years. Just the thought of my daughter in a position of power makes me happy, because I know that a woman who volunteers to look after children in a North End school every day is going to be a responsible company owner.
A thoughtful democratic feminist who relates to the disenfranchised and yet wants to be actively involved in the ‘real world’, well, good on her!
We only want her to be happy, which is in itself a rather unreasonable expectations considering the regular grind of hormones mixed with real life.
We have always let her decide what she wanted to do. No school, fine. No swimming lessons, fine. Quite by accident we may have created a driven and ambitious woman with high expectations for life.
But then again, I don’t think we can egotistically blame or credit ourselves for who she has become.
We have done our part in the nurture department, she was the first child and god knows what our peripatetic life and scrambles for money did to her. We had a lot of fun too, parties, travel and excitement.
Her nature as it emerges, speaks of all her grandparents in equal parts; Safta’s enthusiasm for personal challenges, Nana’s interest in fashion, Saba’s cool good manners in all occasions, and Grandpa’s enthusiasm for work.
When I told her about her slacker parent’s time on the beach in Thailand a few decades ago, she surprised me by saying, I couldn’t do that, I‘d have to have something to do.
Those were my Dad’s words! He would be so proud of her. I know I am.