Tuesday, 18 June 2013

My Precious Girl

I've re read this post which was supposed to be many things really but somehow deviated from it's course a little as I typed.  The posts are stacking up in my head but somehow not making it onto the blog.  I need to sit down and unravel my brain a little.  

I've read two posts today by two very different people who have managed to do just that.  One is a beautiful post from my lovely blogging friend Feisty Cat where she transported me to the other side of the world and shared her day with her words.  The other is by possibly one of the best writers I have ever come across, Mr London Street who manages to transfix with a post about a worn red chair, but then, everything he write just sucks me in.

It seems like a while since I've been able to separate things out and give my full attention to any one thing.

Sometimes you need to remember to do that so you don't lose the ends of the thread in the tangle of life.

There was a thunder storm last night.  The day preceding it had been hot and humid.  I made the mistake yesterday morning of assuming that, because the sky was grey and overcast, it would be cold and so I dressed in jeans and my faithful Uggs with a long sleeved tee shirt and headed into town.

Within half an hour I'd discarded the tee shirt in favour of the vest top Id thankfully worn underneath.  I only wished I could have taken off my boots too, and I did seriously consider going barefoot!

I cut my shopping short and returned home to shower and change into shorts and flip flops before heading back out to hunt down a tiny elusive computer shop I was sure was still riding out the recession somewhere at the far end of town.

My life occasionally seems out of control, like the thunder storm, different elements build, generating power until the overload switch cuts in and all the elements collide and explode in a maelstrom of noise and flashing lights.

On Saturday my Internet connection failed.  I set and reset the router over and over, I switched it off and left it alone.  I switched it back on and left it alone.  I sat mindlessly clicking that switch on and off time after time but still no reassuring flashing light to tell me that it had once again connected me to the rest of the virtual world.

I was completely bereft.

I couldn't even resort to checking my email on my phone as it's on pay as you go with no data roaming so I was completely cut off.

No email, no Face book, no blog, no ....  ANYTHING!!!

I'm not a computer geek.  My computer was given to me by a friend who was updating and it's practically steam powered.  It grinds and rumbles and chatters away like a pair of old women gossipping over a tea cosy clad pot in a fuggy kitchen.  It refused to connect wirelessly to the net so it's currently sitting in my front room snuggled up to the sofa with the monitor on what would probably be the telephone table if I had a land line these days.  I sit parallel to it as a type with a crick in my neck and the keyboard resting on my knees.  Occasionally I'll swivel the monitor around and change to the other sofa which sits in the nook of the bay window and turn my head the other way to try and stretch the muscles in my neck a little.

The thing is, none of this bothers me particularly.  I don't feel the need for all singing, all dancing, technological wizardry.  All I need is something that WORKS!

But it wasn't ....

The weekend was busy as ever.  I honestly don't remember Saturday very clearly.

Miss Mac had spent the previous night at a friends house.  A belated birthday party, or so I was told!

Miss Mac has recently turned 14.  She's tall, she's beautiful, she's bright and funny and we are close, so much closer than I ever thought we would be at one point (but that's another story maybe to be shared one day).  I've had to reign her in just a little recently.  She's been out just that little bit longer than agreed, she's answered back (or pressed her point depending on who's view you take) just a little too much and it's unsettled me.  She's growing up and stretching her wings and that's a GOOD thing but she's still only 14 and I'm still the boss and she's needed reminding of that just a little.

And so I allowed her to go to the party.  The party of a friend who's parents I know.  Who's parents have taken Miss Mac with them on holiday and who's daughter has accompanied us on trips away and it didn't cross my mind to check the details with them  because I had no reason to mistrust her.

So, the party was real but what I (and other parents) were unaware of was that Miss Mac's friends parents were totally unaware of it.  That in fact they weren't even at home.  That they had arranged for their daughter to spend the night with another friend because they wouldn't be back until the next day.

Had it not been for the fact that they mentioned this to a neighbour I doubt any of us would have been any the wiser but the neighbour, having seen lights on in the house, went to investigate and discovered the party in progress.

Luckily no real PHYSICAL harm was done.  The house was undamaged, it hadn't been invaded by hoards of unsuitable strangers, no one was drunk but they had all shattered the faith that we as parents had in them.

I'm not angry.  Well, apart from the fact that I see this as a huge invasion of someone elses home.  But I am deeply disappointed in Miss Mac.  I remember being 14.  It's a while ago now and I'm pretty sure Miss Mac thinks I can't possibly understand but I do!  I understand the excitement.  I understand about feeling invincible.  I understand wanting to push the boundaries.  I DO understand.

But I also see the dangers that she dismisses as something that couldn't possibly happen to her and I understand that feeling too!

I'm not a hard line parent.  I don't know how to be and I don't want to be.  I want my children to be able to talk to me, to know I will listen and to know I will hear them.

And so, yes Miss Mac is grounded with no Internet access (which is miraculously working again somehow) but to be honest, that isn't the punishment it could be this week as all of her other friends are grounded too!

I have taken away her phone and I have insisted I have her Face book password and yes, I have checked her texts and her FB messages and I haven't felt particularly good about doing it or feeling that I needed to and no, I haven't found anything untoward which she told me I wouldn't but she broke my trust and I felt she needed to fully appreciate that.

Her punishment isn't really being grounded.  Her punishment is knowing that I'm disappointed in her.  Her punishment is knowing that she needs to regain my trust and, that until I feel she has learned that lesson I WILL be checking up on her and she won't have the privacy or freedom that every 14 year old wants and should have as they learn to be an adult because she has shown me very clearly that she isn't ready for that just yet.  Or maybe it's that I'm not ready for her to have it just yet ....  I know I'm not ready to be deceived, to be told half truths (and she still maintains that she didn't actually LIE - well, no, technically, she didn't.  But she didn't tell me the truth either).

It's not the worst thing that could have happened, I know that.  My job is to make sure that the worst things don't happen because Miss Mac has this big, bright, wonderful future ahead of her and I want her to go into it fully prepared and to grab every chance that comes her way.

She's growing up but she will always be my precious girl.


SlapdashMama said...

Oh Sarah.
I have all this ahead of me.
Miss Mac is lucky to have you. I was not a very big risk taker as a teenager/young woman but even I did some things that now, as a mother myself, give me the ABSOLUTE horrors when I think of them. Things that really were near misses, but I had no idea at the time. They just don't understand, I didn't understand until I became a mummy myself.
It's so hard! Having children is so PAINFUL sometimes. xxxxx to you and to naughty Miss Mac.

Feisty Cat said...

I remember all of this. And my daughters are 30ish (I am not allowed to give her actual age under penalty of death) and 28. I also remember being 14. I wouldn't trade places with a teenager for all the wrinkle-free skin in the world. But it sounds like, as tough as it is at times, you two are close. That's all that matters. Stay close. She'll try to keep you at arm's length. It will all work out. That much I know.

K Ville said...

whoa there, hold the phone! A group of them, admittedly broke trust by using the house, but they were sensible enough and self controlled enough to cause no damage, not get drunk and do no harm?! Blimey, sounds like a bunch of responsible kids to me. Yes, yes, I know they lied they have to be punished etc but aren't you secretly rather proud that they managed to be sensible about it at the same time. When I was 14, my best friend did a similar thing and her house was totally trashed, the level of drunkenness was shameful and I have some very 'I'm not proud of that' flashbacks to that night of which I have never managed to quite get over. We all had to take an agreed amount of money to her mother afterwards to help cover some of the damages. Yes, yes do the serious mum bit you must, I know but also cut them a bit of credit for what it didn't become.

Sarah said...

I think that's the thing Sarah - they are totally oblivious to the dangers and it's scary!

We are close FC but just occasionally I get a reminder that I don't know everything that's going on in her world - she's actually dealing with the grounding with very good grace which makes me very proud of her.

Lol K, a very valid point - I guess I've been focusing on the 'what could have happend' more than what didn't happen - hopefully being caught out will make them think twice in future.

Maxabella said...

Ah, my future laid out in a post. What's battle we all face, but that's our job as parents. To keep our kids safe from the dangers they cannot see. x

Sarah said...

Thanks Maxabella - it can be a hard job but it's one I wouldn't swap for anything x