Dinner and Cocktails
On my trip ‘ooop North’ I had planned to spend an evening with my beautiful daughter.
Now forging ahead with her own life, her own career, her own relationships, she is my pride and joy. I think the measure of a parents success is the adult your child becomes. They all have their ups and downs and stumbles, but the fundamental moral code and attitude to life that you instil in them at an early age, sets the stage for the rest of their lives. I was not a perfect mother, I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, there are well deserved criticisms around some of my decisions, but I forgive myself as a human being with flaws. Just as I forgive my mother for the mistakes she made. None of us are perfect, and most parents are doing their best.
The relationship with my daughter is one of the most precious things I have. We have our disagreements and niggles, just like any relationship, but at the end of the day I love her unconditionally and that means mistakes and all. We talk most days and our friendship is closer than ever, so I was excited to see her again, as the last time we spent time together was in March.
We had arranged to meet at a new fancy cocktail bar and restaurant in Cleveleys called the Glass House. We have such a similar sense of humour that when we get laughing we literally cannot stop. We were spoiled by the guys behind the bar and drank delicious cocktails and took silly selfies and swopped stories. For me, being in a trendy cocktail bar with fabulous decor and a buzzing atmosphere was heaven. As much as I love the laid back attitude of the country life, the opportunity to get dressed up and look fabulous is missed, and this was the perfect opportunity.
She grew up in a household where she was the only child. My ex and I were both earning very good money, and as a result she benefit from that. Two to three holidays a year, regular dinners out, pretty clothes and all the other trappings that go with wanting the best for your children. I intentionally tried very hard not to spoil her, she was expected to earn her pocket money by undertaking chores in the house and if she wanted something special she had to earn it. I wanted her to learn the value of money and that life gives you back what you put in. There are no free rides.
When the ex and I first split, she failed to understand that I no longer had the capacity to give her what she wanted. Financially thing were different. I wasn’t struggling, but I had to pay more attention to how I spent my earnings with only one wage in the household. This initially caused a lot of friction between us. Even when I came back to the UK from my time in the USA she still did not grasp that my life was completely different now and I couldn’t simply spare a few hundred pounds anymore.
So when it came to the end of the evening, I was mightily impressed that she told me we were splitting the bill 50/50. I had just expected to pay, and I was absolutely more than willing to pay for our dinner and cocktails because I see her so infrequently. However she was insistent. For me, this gesture demonstrated that in the last 6 months my daughter has taken leaps and bounds on the growing up front.
She still has her challenges to overcome and there are aspects of her life that she wants to change but feels incapable of doing. I try to give guidance when asked, and bite my tongue when it is not requested. I would love to give her the benefit of all the things I have learned in my life to this point, but unfortunately we only really learn from our own mistakes, and she will need to go through those learning opportunities herself. I will be here to pick up the pieces when needed, to help in any way I can and to guide her onto the best path and I hope that she continues to trust me as her confidant. That is all a loving mother can do.
In February she will reach the ripe old age of 21. Unfortunately I will be in Thailand on her birthday. However, being the forward thinking and well prepared mother that I am, she has had benefit of the maturation of a couple of child saving investments that I made over 10 years ago in her name. So with that money she aims to celebrate her 21st in New York. Whilst at the moment I am unable give her the gifts I would love to shower her with (new car anyone?) I can sit back and pat myself on the back somewhat that I had the self-discipline and wherewithal to allow her to benefit from my career success.