I am so not ready.
I blame everyone for not preparing me.
My daughter is 13 and she wants more freedom.
Probably because it’s another word for nothing left to lose.
She wants to go out with her friends, to walk around the stores, window shop, buy hair products, go to Starbucks.
And I, thanks to some well-dosed medication, am mostly okay with that.
Because I know that in the history of the universe forbidding teens from normal activities that make parents anxious has never worked.
But of course teens push limits. Of course they do.
Last week, for example, my daughter wanted to go out to dinner with her girlfriend. IN THE EVENING.
WHEN IT IS DARK.
ON A FRIDAY NIGHT.
IN GREENWICH VILLAGE.
Ok, so it was dark but only 6 p.m., and the restaurant in Greenwich Village was three blocks from our house, but still: dark! dinner! Friday night! Greenwich Village!
I almost passed out.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Oh come on!” she said, struggling not to roll her eyes. “I’ll text you when we get there.”
So I said yes. Because I figured that if we lived in suburbia, she’d be hanging out at the mall, where the risk of her getting a French manicure would increase dramatically.
At least we’re safe from that in NYC.
I think that’s why so many people move here.
So I said yes because it was on that cusp of discomfort for me. Not the full on oh no reaction that I often get. I decided to trust it.
Except after they left I started to panic.
Fortunately that’s when Husbandrinka came home.
He has a way of calming my nerves, of making me feel like I’m over-reacting and everything will be just fine. A rock, that one.
“You did what?!” he asked when I told them that I let the girls go out to dinner by themselves.
“Well– it’s just a few blocks away–” I started putting my defense together.
“I don’t know, honey,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.” (It’s true. He calls me honey. Because I’m sweet. And don’t answer to Ball And Chain.)
“What?! Really?” I asked, in full panic mode. “Why not?”
“Because they’re just kids,” he told me, although unfortunately not referring to Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. “They don’t know how to tip properly.”
Let’s rewind, shall we.
They don’t know how to tip properly.
That is my husband’s concern when his only daughter goes out to dinner in the dark! by herself (ok with a friend, if you’re suddenly a math major who must count every person)! on Friday night! in Greenwich Village!
So I did what any normal person would do.
I went out to a bar.
That was directly across the street from the restaurant where my daughter was.
And I had a glass of wine while keeping an eye on the place.
I couldn’t see her, of course, I’m not Jaimie Sommers.
But I felt better being there, just across the street.
One year ago ...