This afternoon I had an epiphany.
It happened while Tracey and I drove Miss18 and her boyfriend, Matt, to the train station – they’re heading off to Perth to spend a few months catching up with her mother and twin brothers.
Because our car was full of their baggage we took two cars to the station while Auntie Bel watched our little ones at home. It was while driving with Matt that I had my big moment.
You see, I have a theory: The things which frustrate us most in our children are the bits of ourselves we see in them which we might prefer to change. I explained this to Matt and he nodded politely and looked like he wished he’d accompanied the luggage in the other car.
But I think I’m on to something here.
Take my oldest daughter, for example.
As we were racing for the cars I casually asked her if she had everything she needed – purse, phone, tickets. She pivoted and raced back into the house. A look of surprise failed to register on my face. This was classic Miss18.
Then the two girls pulled out of the driveway before Matt and I had even unlocked our car, but somehow we managed to arrive at the station before them. It turns out they had to duck back home.
“She forgot the food and drinks she had in the fridge,” Tracey explained to me later.
On the plus side, Miss18 makes me shake my head in wonder that I have produced such a beautiful person, both in face and nature. On the not so plus side, Miss18 tends to skip through life looking for fairies and forgetting to watch where she places her feet.
Which is, if you substitute the skipping for strutting and the fairies for sex, exactly like me at her age. Nothing else really matters except what you want to do. The little things, shall we say, tend to get overlooked.
As though to further prove my point, when we arrived at the station and began pulling out bags, Miss18 suddenly sighed heavily.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing,” she told me. I raised my eyebrows. “I left my laptop bag at home. It has all my chargers in it as well.”
I remember when I was about her age I went to a resort in the Whitsundays for a weeks holiday. The room and all the food was paid for. All I had to do was pay for drinks. Seven days later I found myself standing at the reception perusing a $1100 bill with a card they didn’t accept which was anyway limited to one $500 transaction a day.
Miss18 is so me it’s a wonder she wasn’t born a bloke.
But this only makes me even more determined to point out the error of her ways and try instill some sense of responsibility and forward thinking. I want her to make sure the parachute is buckled before stepping out of the plane.
“You really need to start giving more thought to planning,” I told Miss18 in my best fatherly voice.
All too soon the train left the station. Tracey & I found solace in a hug and consoled each other how she’ll be fine and there will be people at the airport tomorrow whose job it is specifically to make sure people like Miss18 don’t get on the wrong plane and end up in Lapland.
Driving home we talked about our girl. There’s a sadness when they grow up and venture off without you which no amount of pride or confidence in your children can silence. Given her forgetfulness, the confidence bit wasn’t helping silence the sadness so much as humming along with it. But I consoled myself that one day, like me, she’ll get there.
Stepping out of our car at home we dried our eyes and went in to find comfort in the cuddles of our five younger munchkins.
“Where’s the other car?” asked Auntie Bel.
Parked at the train station, of course.
You know what? Change of tack, Miss18. Maybe we should both just learn to live with it 🙂
Have a fantastic holiday, Mishaela. We love you and we already miss you like crazy. Give your brothers a hug from us and tell your mother to take extra good care of you. XX
Our ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page
‘raising a family on little more than laughs’