My kids are good kids. They’re not spectacularly well behaved and they aren’t straight A students. They are smart and funny and I enjoy smart and funny people. They aren’t completely altruistic though they have moments of stupefying goodness where my eyes well with tears and I know I’ve done my job well. They’re just sort of good kids, the kind of people you want to spend time with.
I got a new dance game for the Kinect the other day (I’d thank whomever sent it to me if I knew who it was) and Jane and I danced and laughed and found out that my reflexes are a lot slower than I’d ever imagined. Alexander sat behind us on the sofa with his cell phone instagramming and Kik’ing his life away and every so often he’d glance up and scream about us scarring him.
Note to self: be sure to dance in front of his friends if he ever needs a major punishment.
We’re only a few days past Jane’s 14th birthday and I can’t help but feel like there’s a countdown in this house. We are refinancing the house at 3% which is a rate I never thought I’d see in my lifetime but we’re doing a 10 year fixed because in 10 years it will be just Mr. G and me and there’s no reason to be in a house with all these bedrooms if there are no people around to fill them. Jane is applying to high schools now which means that we only have four years left until she applies to college and that child will leave me.
She wants to go to NYU. She loves New York and she loves downtown (I love it best too so I understand) and I always say that when Jane learned to walk she learned to walk away from me. She has forever been wildly independent and it’s one of the many things I love about her. Her independence has me feeling both successful and sad.
When we met with the headmaster at one of the high schools we talked about the commute. “It’ll be rough the first year or I’ll pay for a bus,” I explained to him, “But by November of her Sophomore year Jane will be driving and it’s officially not my problem.”
He asked me if I was worried about her driving and I sort of shrugged and said something to the effect of she’s a good kid, she’ll be a fine driver. And then headmaster (who has been in his position for more than 30 years) said that I was the first mother who had ever spoken that way.
I don’t mind being different but when thousands of families all have a deep worry that I simply don’t have I start to second guess myself. If she’s not ready to drive at 16 I won’t toss her the keys but why would I tell my 14 year old that I’m scared of her driving in two years? How does that set her up for success?
We’re counting down for everything. She’ll be driving and then she’ll leave me. And every so often when she reminds me that she’ll be going to Tisch (and she’s a persuasive child) I just look at her and ask her, “Why don’t you love me? If you loved me you’d go to USC.”
That’s normal, right?