My 15 year old daughter is telling me that she is making plans to move out on her own.
I'm not telling you that to give you chuckle or scare anyone with younger children - Well, okay, maybe a little bit of the latter...
I'm mentioning it because all of her talk of no privacy, no independence and too many rules is making me think of my own teen years.
And because I know that I can trust my blogging community to be supportive.
And lastly because according to my poll, you guys want to hear more about my parenting failures. (lol ... See sidebar.)
There is a huge difference between girl teens and boy teens.
Boys generally don't leave home early. I think this is partly because it's easier at home where mom makes suppers and lunches and does the laundry. Boys are freer to come and go and can stay out later and just generally aren't as harped on as girls are. Lastly I think that they want to enjoy spending their own money because they know at some point some girl will come along and use it all up.
Girls, however, have to tow the line. We are harder on girls, I admit. But they/we don't realize that it is partially to keep us safe. Both from the men out there and from ourselves. Girls do stupid things for attention, and guys take us seriously. We can't go out after dark for fear of random acts of violence. We have to go to the bathroom in pairs. More is expected of us and so we rebel in ways that make us sorry later.
I know, because I was a girl once.
A long, long time ago, I moved out on my own. Well, with my boyfriend/soon-to-be-fiance, actually. I was 17. Just going into grade 12.
I didn't move out for any negative reasons.
I moved out because I was hopelessly in love and wanted us to be together and make a home and start our forever.
You know how young girls are. We dream big. Impossibly big.
So when Asia tells me she wants to move out, I can't help but think back.
I remember how hard it was going to school full time and working seven days a week to pay the bills.
I remember having to clean my apartment, which did not happen regularly.
I remember having to have change handy to do my laundry in a communal laundry room where any Joe-Blow could steal my panties.
I remember the first time I went shopping after I moved out and I bought all those fun things like cleaners and toilet brushes and laundry hampers. I also remember damn near crapping myself when I saw the total on the cash register window and hoping to God the check cleared!
I remember the parties I could have gone to no questions asked and curfews I didn't have to worry about. And I remember being too tired and too beyond my years to find those things important anymore.
I remember being free to come and go. Although, with work and school, I wasn't able to enjoy it.
I remember the looks of envy I got from people at school when they found out that I was living on my own. But those looks didn't last long when they saw how hard I had to work to keep it going.
The thing is, though, I don't regret a minute of it. The fact that I remember it so distinctly is a good thing. It was part of what made me me. It was the one and only act of 100% independence I ever truly experienced.
But I didn't move out because I hated my family. I didn't move out because I felt caged and angry. I didn't move out for any negative reasons at all.
And that is what gets me about Asia wanting to leave. It is for the reasons I just mentioned. It is because she hates being here. She thinks she will be happier in a group home, with troubled kids coming from troubled homes.
The roof and clothes and food and love and dancing and soccer and cheerleading and trips and bingos and other fundraisers and being her biggest fans through it all hasn't registered even one iota.
So even though I can't hold her back once she turns 16 and even though she turns this house upside down with hormones and anger and even though part of me longs for peace, I hope she will stay a little longer.
Just long enough to move out for the right reasons. So she will not look back with any regrets.
I hope she will wait until she has her head on straight and a direction to set her sights on.
I hope she will take some time to enjoy the busy-ness that she has always demanded in her life instead of resenting us for giving her what she has asked for.
Regardless of what she does, though, I hope she always knows that she can come home.