Essays, Poetry, Observations, Etc.

Flying Solo

In change, life, parenting, reflections, time on February 26, 2013 at 9:05 am

Sometimes you have to step back and watch your child take wing and fly for themselves.

My daughter recently went through high school shopping. She wants to go to the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, one of the top schools of its kind in the country. (Beyonce went there, and more than a few actors whose names you’d recognize.)  I suggested it. She wasn’t that enthusiastic about it… at first.  We went to the open house, saw the show, and, lo, she came to embrace the idea.  She made it her own.

She submitted a writing portfolio in her primary interest and field of art, writing.  All I told her was write about something she was familiar with, something she knew from experience. She let me read it. (She didn’t have to. If she had said, no, I would have been curious, but respected that.)

She also presented herself for a vocal audition.  She has a clean, clear, high soprano voice.  Tentative and untrained, but there is something there.  That’s her Plan B for getting in.

The poetry and short stories were dark, detailed, expressive, and impressive.  I did not review or comment on the content.  I made a few editing suggestions, some she ignored, and then she submitted it.  (I did wonder, only in passing, if I should refer her to a psychologist, though! lol)

She qualified academically, she passed the first auditions in both writing and vocal, and just finished with her final callback auditions. She feels good about the process.

I suggested the school, but she embraced the idea. When she went to visit, I delivered her, then stepped back while she interviewed them, unlike many whose parents seemed to be doing all the talking.

If (and when, we hope) she gets in, it will be on her own merit. She’ll never have any reason to doubt that it was her own ability that got her there. And that’s how it should be.

Sometimes you have to step back and watch your child take wing and fly for themselves.

Someone recently commented that my daughter was remarkably mature.  She is smart, bright, and witty, but mature?  She has all the problems, issues, fears, and hormones of being a teenaged woman.  She is, I hope, headed in the right direction to maturity, but that is a few years down the road.

I was a stay at home dad for the first few years. I didn’t talk baby talk to her. I just talked to her. When we went to the park, for a walk or to play, as soon as she could move on her own two feet, I got rid of the stroller. (Yes, I carried her when she got tired.)  I let her be kid. I have encouraged her to read at every step of the way and to her make up her own mind every step of the way… well, mostly.  Sometimes I do say, no.  I am a parent, not an enabling friend.

I let her take risks.  When she falls, I console her, but I let her take the risks.  (I still hover, but at a discrete distance.)

But she is a child, a teenager.  I have to let her have her childhood, bearing in mind that she will be an adult faster than most parents are ever willing to admit. I have to encourage, I have to raise an independent, confident person.

One day I will be very old and she may be looking after me.  I want her to look at me then with the same love and tenderness and encouragement with which I look at and treat her now, to hold me dear as I hold her dear now.


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