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The Suburbanite
  • Adventures in Parenting: Hip Mom learns to let go – slowly

  • I wish there were well-written, clear instructions on how to let my daughter grow up and away from me. I would pay anything for a hard copy of them because I am not doing well with the new program. I keep missing moments to connect with her, but seem to overemphasize the ones when she wants to be separate from me.

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  • I took my daughter, Maggie, to her first Blossom concert last week. I was feeling pretty cool as a mom for taking her. I mean, really, how many parents have “Blossom concert-pavilion tickets-groundbreaking alternative rock band” on their parenting bucket list. I did.
    The universe aligned when I heard Radiohead was coming to town. Tickets bought, I was planning on a great mother/daughter moment in which I would emerge as the most hip mom in three counties and educate my child in non-Disney Channel music.
    We arrived at Blossom a bit early.  It was a gorgeous night, warm enough but breezy, not a cloud on the horizon. The kind of night that makes a Blossom concert that much more special, considering the weather in Northeast Ohio. I bought Maggie dinner consisting of chicken tenders and fries ($10) and a bottle of water without a cap ($5).
    Apparently you can’t have bottle caps at Blossom, even if they’re plastic. Maybe if enough people had them, and it was a bad show, the band could be injured by a mass bottle-cap pelting? Hard for me to say. Certainly, things weren’t the same at Blossom as when I was young and regularly attended concerts, but even sans bottle cap I was hopeful for our night.
    We sat at the top of the hill and people-watched while Maggie ate.
    It was there that the metamorphosis started. I went into Blossom with a little girl and left with a teen. Not in my plan for Coolest Mom of the Year award.
    I thought I’d have more time with Maggie as a little girl, but apparently in my quest to connect with her as she grew up, I forced the issue in the opposite direction. Hence the teen metamorphosis. As we sat at the top of the lawn,
    Maggie realized she was with her mom. And, that she was separate from me and shouldn’t like the same things as I did. She should forge her own identity. Truthfully, I made it even worse by forcing her to pose at the top of the hill, pavilion in the background, for a photo-op. Maggie could have died a thousand deaths, because her mother was so ridiculous. That said, it did turn out to be a very cute picture of her first concert. However, we had reached an impasse I didn’t expect.
    As we waited in line in the women’s bathroom after “dinner,” Maggie made mention of the weirdness of being at a concert with her mom. About 10 female heads whipped around after hearing her direct, but not disrespectful comment, to me. One after another, women told Maggie how fortunate she was that her mom would take her to a concert, let alone to see a band like Radiohead.  I was redeemed in my daughter’s eyes – for about 10 minutes.
    Page 2 of 2 - I think I accidentally (or maybe, kind of subconsciously intentionally) showed Maggie a glimpse into a more adult, different world by taking her to the concert. I meant to show her something divergent than the average, but I didn’t think a concert would be such a pivotal point in her growing up.  I wanted to keep her with me, and close, for much longer. Strangely, seeing Radiohead changed my child. It made her want to see what was outside of her mother, and, the carefully constructed world I had made for her.
    Oops. Not my plan. Probably.
    I wish there were well-written, clear instructions on how to let my daughter grow up and away from me. I would pay anything for a hard copy of them because I am not doing well with the new program. I keep missing moments to connect with her, but seem to overemphasize the ones when she wants to be separate from me.
    “Embarrassing, Mom,” she said. Maggie fluctuates between being a little girl and moving toward womanhood constantly throughout the day, and I am never sure what to do anymore or who she’ll be from one hour to the next.
    Two songs into the concert, Maggie tapped me on the arm and said, “You know me so well, Mom. You knew I would love this. It is so awesome. Thank you.” And she gave me a hug. But, that hug felt like a partial good-bye, a physical confirmation of times changing.
    I know I need to let go of Maggie and let her make her own way in the world. It’s the right thing to do for her. The point is to raise our children so they can go away from us and function well as adults, right? And, apparently, she is making the leap out of the nest. But, I wonder when it will get easier for me as a mother? Maybe never.
    I had to laugh, though, when Maggie said she would someday take her “seven children” to see a concert at Blossom, just like I had done with her. Like mother, like daughter, apparently.