challenges · Changes · daughter · freedom · gratitude

Miss Seventeen

Yesterday, I had a complaint about my website.

“How come you always say something about “Master Twelve”? What about me? Why don’t you ever talk about me?” bemoaned my youngest daughter, Miss Seventeen.

“You’re hardly ever at home these days”, I replied.

And it’s true. I see my youngest girl for fleeting moments, as she dashes home, to change clothes, leave her dirty washing, and then she’s off again.

What can I say about her? Remember Maria, the nun, in the movie “The Sound of Music”?  Maria’s personality reminds me so much of my daughter.

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!”

How, exactly, do you catch a cloud and pin it down?  For many years, I tried, and upon realising the futility of my trying, I stopped. Take it from me; if you should ever feel the urge to try ~ don’t bother. You simply cannot pin a cloud down.

All in the name of trying my hardest to be a responsible mother, in years gone by I have advised, cajoled, pleaded, demanded and coaxed this girl to become, well, something that perhaps she is not.  And did she ever listen? Not on your life!

“Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?”

It’s not really that she doesn’t want to listen, it’s just that she has so many other interesting places to go, fascinating people to meet, rivers to cross and mountains to climb!

Again, in the name of being a responsible mother, I set my daughter free. And oh my, the lessons she has learned…

Here I can talk about the wonderful human being that my beautiful daughter has become. She always has been a beautiful person, and by setting her free and allowing her the freedom to spread her wings, she has become more of what she already was.

This is the girl with the amazing smile and the sparkling eyes. She is approachable and friendly, to people of all ages. Easy to talk to, a problem solver and shoulder to cry on for her friends, her loyalty to them has no boundaries. Befriend her and return her loyalty and you have a friend for life. She’ll walk over hot coals for you. Stifle her, try to tell her what to do, or lie to her and she’ll drop you like a hot potato. Your name will be forgotten in an instant.

“When I’m with her I’m confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!”

There are days when I convince myself that she has forgotten she even has a mother. Next thing, she’s arriving home with a “special treat” for us to share, perhaps a creamy cake, block of chocolate or marshmallow biscuits. While I make us both coffee, she sets up her treat for us on a pretty plate and off we go to my quiet room, where she tells me everything I always wanted to know (and didn’t want to know!) about what she’s been up to of late.

Without warning, her phone will ring, and my flibbertijibbet is off again, engrossed in yet another highly animated telephone conversation.

She trusts too easily and has fallen hard when a friend has let her down. And the school of hard knocks has taught her many lessons. She is stronger and more resilient and at times shows wisdom beyond her years. And it’s all due to my daughter living the life she has chosen ~ the no holds barred freedom of learning by making her own mistakes and wearing her heart on her sleeve.

“She’d out pester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She’s a riddle! She’s a child!
She’s a headache! She’s an angel!
She’s a girl!”

This year my daughter is in her final year of school and on the back of her senior school jersey is the word “Angel”, and yes, she is an angel, and she is also my wild child. She is gentle, and a party animal, she enjoys quiet time to herself, but talks nonstop to anyone within hearing shot. She certainly is a riddle and never boring.

I have lost count of the number of boy’s hearts she has broken, and she has cried rivers and nursed her own broken heart, but only once. It takes a very special boy to win my daughter’s heart and it is no longer the fragile, delicate little heart it once was.

“Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”

How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand? I don’t want to. My moonbeam has become far more bright and sparkly, since letting her out of my hand. And every once in a while, my moonbeam comes home to me and smiles her sparkly smile, and gives me her ever so special moonbeam hug, she sings her happy moonbeam song whilst dancing her crazy moonbeam dance.

And she makes my heart dance and sing, just as she has since the day she was born.

Footnote ~ As I write this, my free spirited girl is already two hours later home than she said she would be, (Mum, you know I don’t wear a watch!). In the morning she will have no end of trouble waking herself up to go to school, (you know I don’t do mornings, Mum) and when I try to coax her into eating breakfast, she won’t (you know I don’t like cereal, Mum!)

How, exactly, do you solve a problem like Maria?

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12 thoughts on “Miss Seventeen

  1. Ah, a teenager…I had one once, he’s now 26, grown up and moved away. Enjoy all those fleeting moments because one day she will be busy with her own life and you will be looking back on all those memories of her as a baby. It sounds like you two have a wonderful relationship and you should cherish that always, so many parents do not have that. She sounds like a really great girl and I imagine that it is possible because she had a really great mom?????

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  2. Isn’t Naomi still quite young though? Emma is nearly 18 now and I’ve learned myself that the young ones live and learn, just as we adults do. I used to worry myself sick about Em, now I have faith in her ability to make wise choices. 🙂

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  3. I’m sure I had absolutely nothing to do with her personality, Robin. She is far more outgoing than I have ever been!

    Even though Emma is child number three she seemed like my first teenager, as my two older kids were, and still are, far more placid.What it all came down to with Emma, as she got older, was having faith in my own abilities as a mother, (I had taught her right from wrong) and trusting her judgement.

    The freedom has brought out her personality even more and given her more confidence. Don’t worry about Naomi, Heather, I’m sure she’ll be just fine. Age thirteen to fifteen was Emma’s most rebellious time.

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    1. There will always be a touch of Maria in you, my Emma, and I hope you will always hold on to your sense of adventure. You have matured so much though, during the past two years. 🙂

      Wasn’t it great watching “The Sound of Music” again a couple of weeks ago? I believe I will never, ever, tire of the movie. 🙂

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  4. Somes I read this when I feel down about things, like today! But today i’m reading it thinking I wish ‘Master Twelve’ had learnt that family is important and to not piss me off.

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