My daughter is sixteen now, sixteen and contemplating things like driving and more importantly, what her life will be like without us in it every single day. She is learning to cook a little and can make her own coffee in the mornings, a ritual she has come to appreciate as I did for many years before going all carrot juice on everyone. It’s a bit embarrassing for them that their mother serves things like tofu tacos for dinner and that their friends come over and ask, “Where’s your junk food?”
“Um, have you met my mom? You can just call her carrot juice.“ (Don’t worry—my deprived children spend plenty of time in Rome doing as the Romans do. They are getting plenty of preservatives, additives, and other artificial cringe-worthy stuff. We have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy,’ especially with regard to Swedish Fish, which I hold to be the most disgusting of all food-like substances, though I stand assured that they cannot possibly be worse than Marshmallow Peeps.)
My family amused fellow shoppers at the grocery store this week when my daughter learned to use the coffee bean grinding machine. Her eight-year-old brother loudly and proudly announced, “she has to learn these things so she can go to college,” which is what I told him when he tried to edge her out of the way so he could run [play with] the machine.
She is also learning about dishwashers. I sent her this image yesterday:
Followed by these text messages:
On the day I first held her tiny wrinkled body against my warm skin, I already felt the ache that would come when she eventually spread her wings and soared from the nest into the dangerous and exciting world. My beautiful, nearly-grown daughter talks now about the future and about her dreams, and I ache, knowing that if she pursues them as she should, she will one day slip her arms into a Kevlar vest and walk the riotous streets of some foreign city. All that a mother can do is pray. I comfort myself in that she’ll at least know how to feed herself, make coffee, and load a dishwasher, and she’ll know how to love, too.