I spent Tuesday evening going from store to store looking for a dress for my daughter's Moving Up ceremony. For those without kids, moving up ceremonies are when kids change schools - elementary to jr. high, jr. high to high school. Where did the time go?
I reluctantly encouraged her to find her own dress (with my approval or should I say guidance) only saying no to one dress she only half heartedly asked for since she knew full well I wouldn't let her go out in THAT! But we had fun. We eventually found a dress that fit her very slim figure and my sense of appropriateness...a made-in-China shiny thing that as a fair trade vendor made me shudder, but we bought it and left the mall happy.
As she twirled and primped and blabbered away, excited by the Dinner Dance that went with this coming-of-age which includes a "boyfriend" which I write here in quotes, but shouldn't be since they hold hands and kiss on the lips hello and good bye...I realize, my daughter has grown up.
She is nearly as tall as I am. I have trouble deciding which flip flops are hers and which are mine (no problem with shoes, though since she wears cutesy ballet flats and I wear Merrill's). Peter and I pull g-strings from the laundry and I shudder at the thought that she feels the need not to have panty lines!
But for the most part, it's been a smooth transition, this baby to teen. Macallan's made it easy...or have I grown too?
In Africa, it is said that San bushmen children don't cry. There are may implications but one that was explained to me was that if they did, a predator (not the predators we think of here that sexually molest children, but a lion or hyena or a leopard) may get them. Another theory is that life is so hard, the San try to make the first few years easy so they make sure the child doesn't cry.
I don't know the answer, but I know I heard plenty of San children crying and saw many parents hitting them. Times change and so must we.
My ideas of having children quickly changed when I had them. The plans I had, the idealist views...children taught me to be flexible. Africa taught me to be prepared.
With my store, my latest baby, I've watched her grow too. I only go in twice a week now, working from home so that I can be with my biological children. Just like with my kids, I have people I trust to take care of them when they are not with me (Portia has been a godsend as store manager and now Stephanie will be on hand to help out too). I have to let a little of my influence go and trust I've laid the groundwork for good work.
I see the store in her teen years, much like Macallan. They both look me in the eye and show me their indepenance, their strengths and their inner and outer beauty - somethings I rightly take credit for and somethings I can just sit back and look at in awe.
I received a message from a woman who stopped by the store this weekend. She LOVED everything about it and had a great idea...I get these calls I'd say once a week, much like with Macallan. I get told on a regular basis just how special she is. Now, I'm the store and Macallan's "parent" and I take those compliments to heart. But I know I only deserve some of the credit. I brought the store to life and gave life to Macallan, that I will take credit for. But what they did with that 'life" was totally up to them and for that I just sit back and enjoy with wonder.
Times change and so have we. There was a time when I feared the time when my daughter would be old enough to date, when the store would be old enough to have a following. But I don't fear that any more.
Their growing up allows me to free up my energy, to grow as well. I can let them grow, let them go.