I Can Almost Smell Freedom...

My daughter, Fric, is growing up. I remember when she was born. I marveled that she was mine. She was nothing like I thought she would be. She had no hair and an extremely large head, for starters. She was huge. And she was stubborn, right from the get-go. When I brought her home from the hospital, I wondered what in the hell I was supposed to do now. The sheer magnitude of being responsible for another life was overwhelming. I worried that I would screw her up beyond redemption.

And I probably have. But nine years later, I'm okay with it. I figure she has given as good as she's got. If she has to see a therapist, she might as well come along with me so we can get the group discount. Parenting a daughter has been a hard row to hoe. But I'm lucky. She is the junior sized version of me, so I feel like I have the inside edge. When her beautiful beady eyes started getting that evil gleam, I know what she's thinking. I can usually head her off at the pass. I can tell when she is spinning tall tales, and I know when her heart is bruised.

But even with this road map there have always been twists in the trail. I mean, she likes to listen to Britney Spears and Shania Twain for heaven's sake. At her age, I refused to join the pack. No Corey Hart or Brian Adams for me. No way. I dedicated all my time to listening to my dad's old eight tracks, enjoying the velvet crooning of Elvis, Waylon Jennings and Dolly Parton. (That probably tells you way too much about my past geekiness...)My daughter thinks Hilary Duff and the Olsen girls are cool, and if she knew what a Bratz doll was, she would probably hound me like a dog from hell to get one.

Today, Fric grew new feathers in her wings. Wings that are one day going to allow her to fly this coop. She is off to enjoy her first overnight class field trip. They are going to Drumheller to learn about dinosaur bones. For three days. Three days of no sibling rivalry. Three days of listening to the quiet beeps of the GameCube and no whining about not sharing. Three days of not having to argue with her about brushing her hair. I'm almost childless. The boy almost takes care of himself. I am almost free. Only one soccer game to attend, not two! Do you smell that? That's the giddy smell of freedom...

As Fric was bouncing around with excitement this morning, she worried about tenting it in the big ole outdoors. She worried about snakes and spiders. She worried she might be cold. Being the kind hearted, supportive mom I am, (as I was pushing her out the door) I told her not to worry. I told her half the fun was the unknown. I told her to loosen up, enjoy the experience. But mostly, I just told her to hurry up.

I didn't want her to miss that damn bus.