Growing Up

Of course, Maya has been growing up for over 17 years now.  Seeing the Royal Baby in the news reminds me of how little my own baby once was.  I remember, sometimes fondly, how sweet and dependent she once was.

And now…now she’s 17, with a driver’s license, going to appointments and the grocery store on her own.  Taking the train into Berkeley to see a movie with her friends.  I confess to being a bit over-protective.  I make her appointments for her, pick up her prescriptions for her, that kind of thing.  She could do these things for herself, and probably she should.  She needs to be ready when she goes away, ready to know how to make appointments and take care of things.  She needs to be able to cook a meal or two.  She can, actually, cook a meal or two.  She can do laundry and clean house.  But I think she needs more, in order to feel confident when the time comes for her to leave.  She needs to know that she can take care of herself, even if it’s still with a little bit of help from us, once in awhile.

In the meantime, this is all new to me.  New to me to have her gone and not check up with everyone involved beforehand.  She went to a movie the other night (Much Ado About Nothing) in Berkeley with her friends.  Two friends, both girls of her own age.  The BART ride there didn’t bother me, but the BART ride home was after dark, and made me a little nervous.   It’s new to me to have her running errands or going out with her friends during the day, in the car.  She went to lunch last week, and I’ll admit that I asked for a text to tell me she got there safely.  It’s just downtown, but we live in the Bay Area.  The streets are not as busy as San Francisco, or even Berkeley, but they are much busier than the streets of Stockton where I grew up.  She’s been going out on her own to get exercise, on the trails that I walk all of the time on my own.  I feel confident that I can handle most issues that might occur there, and I’m getting used to the ideas that, 1. perhaps she might be able to as well, and 2. nothing is likely to happen there.  Sigh.  It’s difficult.  I’m trying.

What for you, fellow moms of teens or adult children, was the most difficult change to adjust to?  I predict her not living here anymore when she’s away at college, that will be a doozey.  (Ted and I both did the community college thing for our first 2 years while living at home, and that may be a good option for Maya as well…so I’m not sure yet WHEN she’ll be away at college.  But I know it will happen sooner rather than later.)  But what, when they were still at home?  What made you nervous and want to watch your phone for an update?  And maybe, what still does?

5 thoughts on “Growing Up

  1. I’m not a mother, but I was an only child so I feel like I’m allowed to speak up here.

    My mother did things exactly like you are doing things– a phone call was required after I got to my destination, I went to appointments on my own but she phoned for them, I biked around the streets by myself where she did the same thing. I knew how to cook and clean and do laundry and shop for clothes/groceries on my own.

    What she did not prepare me for was how immature my peers would be. I was accustomed to being around adults, so I was much more grown-up than the kids who I lived with in the dorms.

    I don’t know If it is still the same way, but Maya might benefit from some conversations about how to deal with buttheads and drama queens who want to derail a girl who has her head on straight. I’m not talking about bullying, I’m talking about rich kids who had never in their lives been held accountable for anything & knew that they would have a career after college because of their parent’s contacts. They were the worst– and really upset me.

    • Ally, that’s so different than anything I had considered. You’re right though, we should at least consider the difference that being an only child can make in maturity and dealing with buttheads and drama queens.

      And regarding college…gosh, some kids do have it all handed to them on a plate, don’t they? Part of me wants her to go to a private college where the classes are small and the teachers are engaged. Part of me wants her to go to a bigger school where she isn’t exposed to the spoiled kids that go along with that lifestyle.

  2. My boys were living at home for what seemed like forever. It got to be too much: four adults living in the same house. But when they were Maya’s age, it was the driving that gave me the most worry. Every time the phone rang, I worried it was one of them, telling me he was in an accident. True, it happened a few times, luckily our cars being the only injuries, but it made me a basket case.

    I didn’t worry about peer pressure or other kids’ influence much. My boys had been raised in a very open, loving, and honest home. Like Ally, they already had been doing their own laundry, helping with family responsibilities, and had very strong bonds with our extended family. I felt that we had done everything we could to give them a firm foundation, and that they knew they could continue to come to us for anything. They still know that, and they still do.

  3. It was difficult when my son went away to college but I still had my daughter at home. After I got use to him being gone, it felt guilty how normal it seemed not having him around!

    • I think it will be great in some ways, just me and Ted again, like when we were first married. That part will be good. In other words, gosh, I LIKE my daughter, and I love her as well. I’ll miss her horribly when that day comes.

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