My daughter turned 22 recently and my son soon turns 25. Today I had lunch with them. I try to have lunch with one or the other or both every couple of weeks to a month, just as an excuse to catch up with them and to hear what’s up with their lives. This gets harder as they get older and their lives more busy and full, but I want to take advantage of it as long as I can. Prior to this lunch, daughter also shared with me that she was going to bring the ukulele I had purchased for her for her birthday to show me what she’d been practicing.
Speaking as someone who has a ukulele and almost zero natural talent, my expectations were pretty low as she’s had it all of 10 days or so, but I was prepared to be parentally proud nevertheless.
During lunch we talk about what was going on in their lives, what was new, what was exciting, what they were excited about. In the course of that I was reminded that our relationship continues to evolve when I asked my daughter something about the boy she is dating and she replied “No, I’m not going to tell you that.” She didn’t do it rudely and, to be fair, I was asking something that was kind of personal about the boy. To her credit, she drew a line and despite some pushing from me, she held that line. At the time I was felt okay pushing for an answer because he’s a guy who’s dating my daughter, my little girl. But, at the same time, she’s an adult and chose to not share every detail of her private life and that’s okay. As my wife reminded me later, I need to give her space to be that adult that she is and not keep pushing. I did stop pushing, but had my wife been there I suspect she’d have given me the look to call me off much more quickly than I managed on my own. I’m slow that way.
I’ve mentioned before that in part as a result of me telling stories of my role playing group, my son found some friends to play with and he’s been enjoying that as well. Turns out a few months ago, he ran a small encounter for my daughter because she was curious what all this role playing was about and she really enjoyed it!
Today I learned that she’s advanced to creating her own campaign which she is DM’ing with her brother playing. She showed me the large map that describes the land her adventures take place in and she described a bit about the politics and family relationships that are driving the main story for her adventure. Her brother has been playing an evil character who seems to take it as a major goal to try and surprise her and operate counter to her story at pretty much every turn. So, basically, he’s being a big brother. I love that at 22 and 25 they have this relationship and they are clearly very important to each other and very much there for each other. And, we’ve got another member of the family infected with the role playing bug. Now, if I can just find a way to convert my wife…
As it turns out, my daughter is much more interested in the role playing and story aspect of the game, much more than the tactical side of things, which doesn’t surprise me at all. I suspect that, for her (much like her dad), the tactics and dice rolling are there to supplement and help drive the story, not the other way around.
In addition to this she shared that she’s continuing to go to roller derby practice at a local club. It’s mostly exercise and socializing and learning to skate better for her and she doesn’t believe she’ll ever really want to do a match, but I’m tickled that my daughter is doing something I would have imagined to be so far out of her comfort zone. I’ve taken a ridiculous large amount of glee telling people about my roller derby daughter and watching their mouths gape and their eyes go wide with concern on her behalf. But, my daughter is having a good time and that’s enough.
After lunch wrapped we went to my car and piled in so she could share what she’d been working on. She brought her ukulele and a guitar. I didn’t know she could play the guitar, either!
She played three songs. The first was a cover of a song I didn’t know, the second was a song (“the song“) from Frozen and the third was something she wrote.
You know that cartoon where Michigan J. Frog is first released from a block of cement and starts singing and dancing for the man who looks like he has seen a thing which he didn’t thing existed? (Look it up kids, it’s on the YouTube).
I’ve known my daughter a long time, all 22 of her years, in fact. I was there when she was forcefully ejected in to this cold hard world. I’ve watched her grow up, declare herself a fruititarian (something she invented), out stubborn me in an argument about finishing her dinner and eventually become an amazing young lady who is smart, beautiful, funny, sarcastic and as big-hearted as the sky. And somehow, I completely missed that she can sing. Then she played the song that she wrote on the guitar and it was like finding out that your kid has a super power. It was an amazing realization and only made better by the realization a parent has that their kid can do something that they cannot and not just a little better but A LOT better.
My fantastic time with my kids came to a close and the kids got out of my car and in to my son’s car. Turns out he’s having an issue with an electrical drain somewhere in his car, so he asked me to hang around in case the car wouldn’t start.
The cherry on my sundae was that other than asking me to stick around to be sure his car started, he didn’t ask for anything else. Not money to fix it, not asking what I thought it might be, nothing. Meanwhile, I was restraining, with difficulty, the parent in me that wanted to jump in and fix the problem. But, No, he had it under control. My boy was handling his stuff like an adult. He knows I am there if he needs me, but at least for now, he’s got this. What more can a parent ask for?