Friday, June 27, 2008

RM Column May 16 - From young child to young woman

RM column May 16 - From young child to young woman

I keep having to shake myself recently, all of a sudden I have gone from being Mum to a young child to being the mother of a young woman. Over recent years I have gone from being the ‘young woman’ to unknowingly passing that mantle onto herself.

All of a sudden new stages and new frontiers are creeping into our lives; we have already started talking about college while the Young Wan is talking about her gap year.

Certainly a lot of this talk is a little premature. But I cannot believe she is coming into her last two years of secondary education. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was worrying about where she would go to secondary school, in fact finding her a primary school wasn’t that long ago either. So I suppose thinking about the next two years is a case of forewarned being forearmed.

Like many other young people the Young Wan would love to go to college away from home. I have many emotions about this, the normal ‘I don’t want my baby going away from home at such a young age’ to the inevitable feeling that I am going to have to relinquish some of my motherly duties to a little grown-up.

Course it goes without saying that I will always worry, that’ll never ever stop but there will come a time and really soon where she will be responsible for herself and for her actions completely.
One of the problems with her going away to college, aside from my own reluctance to let go of my baby is that I don’t have the money to send her. Saving for college was an ideal that I was never able to manage. I could start a fund now however winning the lottery aside I don’t think I would be able to save enough for her to study away between now and two years time.

We talked about this recently and she looked horrified at the thought of having to live at home whilst at college. After telling her that worse things happen at sea I explained how her life at 16 years old is not the same as her life as an 18-year-old college student will be.

It makes sense to me to live at home having access to clean laundry, your meals put on the table, food in the fridge, your own bed and own bedroom, no bills and steady access to the Bank of Mum. Sure what more could you want?

I think she is beginning to see the benefits of this particularly when I explained how I can barely make all the household expenses let alone how she could do that as a student.

Then last night the Young Wan had a bright idea, one that she has obviously mused over with a pal and they both thought it to be a great idea. The last couple of summers she has spent the summer with her Nanny in Turkey and this year her pal is going over too so they thought they could travel together.

Once I stopped laughing I explained there is no way in hell would she be travelling to Turkey on her own, even with a 17-year-old pal.

“But I’m 16, I can travel on my own”, she indignantly said. Again once I stopped laughing I explained to her that it would not be happening. She may be 16 and she may be a young woman but she is not travelling by herself just yet. I told her that maybe this time next year I would feel differently, I doubt it, but you never know.

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