I’m not a procrastinator, but when we were assigned to create our first blogs for Evine I couldn’t get myself to begin writing about the most relevant topic of my life: our daughter’s graduation and preparations to leave home for college on the East Coast. For those of you who know me, you know my life is consumed by family and, since our Little Mermaid was born nearly 18 years ago, she has consumed a good 80% of our time and energy. We call her our Little Mermaid because she has LOVED the water from the time she was a baby, regardless of ear infections, hearing loss, and surgeries. So, through the use of ear plugs, waxes, and headbands we kept her happy in the water. As the years progressed, our Mermaid became a competitive swimmer and will now be heading off to compete at the collegiate level in the fall.
In the early 2000’s our daughter was completely obsessed with Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I think she lived in a mermaid costume for at least 3 years! I didn’t realize until recently how the movie foreshadowed what was to come . . . or how much it may have influenced her after watching it a thousand times. After years of constant studying and training, our daughter is taking a few months out of school and the pool to enjoy the real world and get re-energized for college and collegiate swimming. Like Ariel, she swam to the surface and, regardless of the warnings of her parents, has fallen in love with humans (yes, a boy), the world, and FREEDOM (from parents especially)! So, our Little Mermaid and animal whisperer is now a fully fledged human.
So, where is the little girl who always had to be by my side . . . wanting to read book after book at bedtime so that I wouldn’t leave her room . . . needing to hold my hand until she fell asleep . . . crying at the back door as I left for work every night . . .
I always knew where she was . . . what made her happy and sad . . . how she felt . . . if she was eating . . . what she was eating . . . who her friends were and if they were treating her well . . .
I thought this was supposed to be a more gradual progression of pulling away but, with a two-month countdown, it feels like it all happened over night! How did she become so headstrong (ok, all of my friends are laughing at me now!) and determined to control her own destiny once the training wheels just came off her bike?
I keep reminding myself of how incredibly independent I was at her age, but it doesn’t make it any easier! It doesn’t help when other parents tell me what a great job I’ve done creating such a strong, smart, talented, independent young woman. It only makes me feel like I’ve given her the skills to swim away faster, sooner. To watch her rebellion, joy, and determination to become more adventurous, successful, and independent is gratifying, terrifying, and painful all at the same time.
So, I know we’re all told this when our Mermaids are little . . . but we don’t seem to believe the progression is going to happen as quickly for us. When you’re exhausted from work and just want to get some sleep, stay in their room a little longer and read a few more books. Hold their hands as often and as long as you can. Plan as much time off as you can to spend with them. Show them what love looks like so, when they head out into the world, their expectations are high! Quick story: recently, when a boy was not good to my daughter, she told him as much! He turned around and called her “salty” . . . HA . . . of course she is! She’s a Mermaid . . . don’t mess with her!
So, to my friends and colleagues . . . come the beginning of September . . . I might need to talk a little longer (I think Wendi is already tired of me in the host room when she’s trying to prep her shows), reach out for your hand or a hug more frequently, and might become even more of a “Mama Bear” . . . coz’ my Little Mermaid has hit land and is in a full-on run now.
Thought you’d enjoy this photo of my daughter with Santa Chuck. If Santa Chuck gets his wish, she’ll become a Philly Girl! HA!