Yesterday, my daughter competed in a horse show. (This is a common occurrence around here, and has been for about half of her life). As usual, she had to be at the stable at ohmigod o'clock to groom her horse, pack the trailer and in this case help some junior riders do the same. The only difference was that she was planning to drive herself to the stable and I could, in theory, go back to bed. Or, in reality, take a fitness walk and get a few hours of work in before driving out to watch the event myself.
After checking to see if she was up (two alarms plus a "Puh-leeeeese, Mom, just five more minutes"), I cut a peach into slices and thought about the rest of her breakfast. With a long day of competition ahead of her, I thought something more substantive than a chocolate chip muffin was in order. I made a pizza bagel instead.
"I don't feel like it," she announced when she came downstairs in a crisp polo, shiny boots and show breeches.
This is where my first mom-fail of the day came in. Basically, any parenting manual worth its salt would have advised me to (a) insist or (b) acquiesce. I took a third completely futile route and cajoled then lectured her then ended with some snipey comment about how she doesn't take her sport seriously. She headed out with a Chocolate Chip Cookie Zone Bar (yes, said disgusting thing does exist) and I was left to wrap the pizza bagel and put it in the fridge.
As she was headed out the door, she asked in a mildly exasperated voice, "When can I stop texting you when I get there?" she asked.
"I don't know" I told her. "Not yet."
"Uggghhhhh," she groaned and headed off.
Since obtaining her highly anticipated and much cherished driver's license four months ago, we've had a deal. She puts her phone on "airplane mode" while she's driving (no calls in or out, no texts). She's very careful. She doesn't play her music too loud. No other teens in the car (that's Massachusetts's rule, not mine). And, she texts me when she gets wherever she's going.
That, for me, may be the most important part of the agreement.
With a text upon arrival (and a corresponding text when she's leaving for home later in the day), I only have two thirty minute blocks of sheer terror. Otherwise, I'd be looking at an entire day of it.
After our breakfast debate, I expected a terse "here" text from her. Instead, I received this:
"here i forgot my saddle pads after all that!" with a little freaked out face emoticon. We had washed them the night before and they were drying in the sun on our patio.
I quickly texted her back that I would bring them to the event location. It would simply mean getting there a bit earlier than I had planned.
"great thank you I'm sorry"
It was a gorgeous day, and I really didn't mind leaving work for a couple of hours. My daughter was genuinely happy to see me. Afterall ...
1. I had her clean white saddle pads
2. I could drive her jumping saddle and other equipment to the ring so she wouldn't have to make trips back and forth to the trailer between events
3. I could take pictures for her
As far as her actually wanting her loving mother to watch her compete? The bloom faded off that particular flower long ago. These days, I have jobs to do.
The show went well, and she left with two first place ribbons: dressage and stadium jumping. Along with the rest of her team, she headed back to the stable to celebrate. I headed back to my home office to work.
It occurred to me that my daughter is like the push-me—pull-you from Dr. Doolittle (you know, the weird, two headed llama thing in the old movie with Rex Harrison). She's moving away from me as fast as she can at times, and then returning just as quickly when circumstances change. Usually, that means when she needs something.
I always think that she'll appreciate all the above-and-beyond. That she'll understand how lucky she is that her mother is Mrs. Fix-It. But, I don't think she does. Maybe she will someday. Right now, it's all she knows.
In fairness, I do get a lot of "i'm sorrrrrrry" texts when there's a request. And, often "thank you soooooooo much" when said request is fulfilled. But, she's sixteen and her life is moving pretty fast. She can't stay repentant — or grateful — for too long. She might miss something.
So, back to her earlier question ...
"When can I stop texting you when I get there?"
How about "When you stop texting me with emergencies."
Or better yet. "When you're thirty-seven."
Yep. That works for me.
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