Friday, 6 April 2012

Jessica


Yesterday I said goodbye to my oldest daughter. With suitcase in hand, she boarded a plane to Europe.  As a parent, I constantly worry about my girls, and whether I’m doing enough to raise them properly. I had hoped that by now, one or both of them would have found a sport, any sport, that would have given them the joy and life lessons that I had found athletics had given me. “Lead by example”, has always been my mantra but, as it turns out, my daughters appear to be “allergic to sweat”. That said, I’m starting to think they have just translated my lead in a different way.

Last year when Jessica asked me if she could go on a class trip to Europe, I said okay, but that she would have to pay for it. I figured at the age of 16, there is no better time to teach the importance of saving. With a $3k price tag, Jessica’s reaction wasn’t altogether surprising: “How am I going to get that kind of money at my age? It’s going to take forever!”.  I resisted the alligator tears and puppy dog eyes, and stuck to my guns: “Jessica, if you want something badly enough, you just have sink your teeth into it and not let go.”

Caitlin and Jessica (left) on the first day of school 2011

Over the past year, guilt was my constant companion.  I watched as my daughter dragged herself out of bed, exhausted from juggling work, school and friends. She maintained her straight “A” average, but her moods were sometimes challenging. Many times, I wanted to give in. Picking her up from work late at night was getting exhausting for me too, especially with what I am doing.

With each passing month, her excitement and bank account grew. She made the installment payments for her trip on time, and even had enough money to buy a really nice camera. Her year-long journey to the finish line ended yesterday. As we said our goodbyes, I told her how proud I was of her. I told her that she would enjoy this trip all-the-more because she had worked for it. I also told her that she inspires me. Jessica smiled, paused, and looked at me… “Mom I’m just like you,” she said. “I’m a dog with a bone, too. “

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