I had lunch with my 17 year old daughter last week and as I walked away I smiled to myself and thought was a successful time it had been. And then I laughed out loud as I realized how my views on what constitute "successful" have changed beyond all recognition since having kids. Here is a brief summary of our lunch:
We met at a restaurant near to where we both work that serves lovely pasta. While I was waiting for her to appear (of course, she was late) I looked at their menu and and decided to choose something off their very reasonable 'Lunch Specials' menu. When Emma arrived, she was starving and took a very brief glance at the Specials menu before declaring there was nothing there she liked. No problem, I said, choose what you want from the normal menu. After perusing for a few minutes she decided on a Gorgonzola pasta dish. I knew she wouldn't be able to eat a normal-sized portion so offered to share it with her and just order a salad. I wanted the Mixta salad, which I'd fancied from the Specials menu, she wanted the Caesar salad, as usual (what is it with all teenagers - why do they always order bloody Caesar salad?). We ordered the Gorgonzola pasta and the Caesar salad. I ate most of the salad as she disliked their homemade dressing.
She then spent most of our lunch texting on her phone, which is supposed to be forbidden, but apparently it was "Just one more text, it's very quick, just making important social arrangements". We did, however, manage to squeeze in a few conversational sentences without getting into an argument, in between her texting and shovelling food in her mouth, before we got the bill. As we were leaving she somehow managed to extract $7 cash out of me to go back to her work (a fashionable clothing store) as she absolutely had to have this bracelet which was the last one there and she'd left her wallet at home.
As we left she smiled happily, told me she loved me (hmmm, wallet-love?) and actually allowed me to put an arm around her and graciously leaned her head towards me so I could kiss her forehead. This was thrilling as I am not normally allowed to touch her. I walked away thinking what a nice lunch it was before giving myself a mental head slap and reality check.
How has your thinking changed over the years? What do you accept now that would have been completely unacceptable a few years ago? (Like farting when you cough, no longer being able to do star-jumps - did I ever want to? - or longing for bed at 9pm, to sleep not for any hanky-panky.)
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