This week I waved off the last of my five daughters.
At the same time (actually, almost as fast as the jet she took to Japan), my husband emptied the girls’ rooms and packed everything off to teenage storage.
Clearly, his way of grieving the end of fulltime parenting was to remove all reminders of the kids. And I’m trying to be brave by talking up how proud we are of these confident, well-adjusted young women finding their own way in the world. But secretly, I wish I’d taught them to be just a little bit needy and insecure, instead of independent and strong!
Our five girls, aged 18 to 24, are now scattered from London to Melbourne, Sydney and Japan.
While at least one of them was at home, I held firm to the view that a good parent’s job was to become obsolete. Now that I’m down to zero kids in the house (and a lot less furniture), I’m considering whether I set my parenting aspirations too high.
So, to maintain the parenting skills I honed and refined over many years, I’ve brought them (and a pot plant salvaged from my husband’s clean-out) to work.
I have caught a CLEFAIRY, an ODDISH, a GOLDEEN, a ZUBAT and a DODRIO, just to name four of the approximately 150 characters in my Pokedex and only after joining the latest craze a few days ago.
I now know how to lure Pokemon to a Pokestop, how to transfer them to the Professor in exchange for candy and when I catch eggs I can incubate them while walking until they are ready to hatch.
I have yet to do battle at a Gym, get a bag or storage upgrades, so clearly I am not an expert.
But what I do believe is parents need to keep up to date with the latest technology and this is one we can benefit from.
Of course there is a catch. And I don’t mean the Pokeballs.
This week thousands of parents will send their children off to school for the first time.
Many thousands more will pack them off for another year on their 13 or 14 year path to graduation.
It’s a groundhog life I have FINALLY awoken from.
So school is out, exams are over, scores are out and kids and parents alike are anxiously awaiting university offers.
It’s time to think about the future.
Plan A, Plan B and even option C are all under consideration and more than ever I am hearing parents say, “insert name, is taking a gap year.”
There are officially only three days left of the school year for graduating students.
For me it’s the final week of a very long plot-twisting, character-driven, full of villains, sometimes a few heroes, angst-riddled, monotonous but never dull, amazingly intriguing and fast-paced drama/thriller/romance/comedy chapter of my life. School is out forever.
But as it inevitably does at this time of year, I was at a luncheon with other mums recently and the conversation turned to schoolies and whether to supply alcohol.
The formal is done.
Exams are looming and valedictorian celebrations are in train.
Soon, all the attention will turn to schoolies week, and it’s not just the kids who are getting excited.
I have a friend heading to Fiji for schoolies week……… with her graduating grade twelve daughter!
My friend is a poolie!
We have the dress that she loves and didn’t cost a fortune.
Make-up and hair appointments are booked.
We are hosting the pre and transport for the arrivals is sorted.
This will be the baby girl of the family’s end of high school celebration and my 10th and final formal or semi-formal.
She will look stunning, and I am thrilled for her.
A far cry from this time two years ago, when I was a dribbling mess of tears, wallowing in self-indulgent sadness about all the lasts my daughter (and by extension myself) were experiencing as the end of high school loomed.
Now with the youngest of my five daughters about to slam shut the last lunchbox lid on school, I am curiously nowhere near as distraught.
And I don’t know why?
I love watching women in red-carpet-style frocks, some with sequins, all with cleavage, line up and compete against each other to be chosen by a man.
And I know others of my ilk do too.
I’ve seen their gushing admissions of obsession on Facebook.
I also have a keener interest now that I have met four of them. (The Queensland contingent was front-row guests for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival I worked on and that has just wrapped. For the record they dressed rose-ceremony ready and didn’t seem any more desperate for love or attention that any other girls I’ve known of the same age)
But while my and my contemporaries on Facebook, fascination is just a bit of frivolous fun.
I’ve also realised as the show nears its end and yippee Sam chooses his favourite, it also serves a vital purpose for parents.
We should be not just letting our young daughters tune in to the Bachelor, but encouraging them to.
You’ve seen all those letters that people write to their 16-year-old-selves.
The ones that tell them not to worry about their weight, or whether they have enough friends and that they are worthy, kind and wonderful. Well my advice to me, now in my 40’s, is from my teenage self. Read More
The doctor has confirmed it.
Unfortunately there’s nothing she can do for me and we all have to cope the best we can.