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Friday, June 22, 2012

What I have to look forward to . . .

I enjoyed this essay about a planned mother-daughter spa visit, but what really struck me was her insanely articulate description of adolescence, the prospect of which I find utterly terrifying. On the other hand, most of the article is about what happens after, so of course there's hope.

My Daughter's Startling Response To A Spa Invitation

by Lee Woodruff

I've been a little slumpy lately. Nothing major, just kind of in a middle-o'-life blah. I can't seem to get motivated to work out the way I used to, the get up and go is less "go" and more "harder to get up." I eat healthy for a while and then suddenly purchase a giant box of Dots or a tub of chocolate covered raisins and consume the whole thing almost without tasting. It's not that I feel lousy; I just don't feel like the old me.

That was the initial thrust behind the timing of a mother/daughter spa trip. I've been thinking about doing this ever since my baby girl was born, 18 years ago. And now she is home from her first year in college. All in all she's had a pretty good experience, with the expected ups and downs of leaving the nest for the first time. She's worked hard and made friends, all while trying to live up to the decidedly unhelpful "these are the best years of your life" advice that we parents have parroted to them for the last decade. That's a lot of pressure to put on someone as they tie the bandana on the stick and head out the door to live with four strangers in a room the size of a handicapped bathroom stall.
The last two years of high school she was a partial stranger to us, distant, most of her in shadow. I understood she was hard at work uncoupling from me, sawing off the umbilical cord, sometimes with a dull, Swiss Army knife. Mother nature has programmed our children during this period to be as judgmental, sullen and eye-rolling as possible, presumably to make it hurt less when they finally blow the pop stand. We were all ready for her to go, mostly her. And I honestly don't think my daughter would have wanted to spend a stretch of time with me anywhere back then. I had nothing to offer beyond my cooking, cleaning, step n' fetch-it skills, and my vague resemblance to a punching bag. So the thought of going to a spa with her in those years would have felt like a Club Med trip with Stockholm syndrome and no alcohol.



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