So, my beautiful daughter has graduated from high school for the first time and is slowly preparing to move out; back to the last city where we resided to attend another year of high school because Grade 12 was so much fun the first time around. This year's goals include passing math, picking up a science, testing the strength of love, making her first million working at Jumbo Video and deciding what she wants to do with the rest of her life. It's going to be a busy year and so far she has prepared for her grand adventure by ensuring that her most recent clothing purchases meet the school dress code.
Lately, I have been thinking about how quickly the last eighteen years have gone. When I begin to feel melancholy, I think about the memorable incidents over the past two decades that have caused me to pray for her departure from home to come sooner.
When she was two years old, Club Fit had a great child care centre where the kids could plaster their limp bodies along the glass walls and watch their parents trying to ignore them for an hour. The long trek from the Stairmaster to the change room took me past the glass wall where Taryn, being in the early years of her dramatics career, slid her face and outstretched arms down the glass leaving a streak of tears and saliva. So, I broke the Club Fit rules and rescued her from the bowels of her crayon-ridden hell and told her to sit quietly in the locker room while I got changed.
Taryn sat on a bench in an empty corner, at least until the round lady emerged from the shower and walked purposefully towards a locker directly in front of Taryn. My uncanny powers of premonition whipped me into action. I sprung like a panther to Taryn's side, took her by the hand and began to lead her away. She was looking back at the lady who, at that moment, dropped her towel to the floor and began to rummage through her gym bag for, perhaps, some underwear?
I'm sure this lady's ass just looked big because it happened to be bobbing around at exactly Taryn's height and, until that moment, I had been very proud of my daughter's ability to articulate so clearly at such a young age.
Me leading her away, "Let's go, Taryn."
"Mommy, look at that lady."
Me, "Let's go, Honey, do you want to go to McDonald's? I'll buy you a toy."
"Mommy, look! That lady has a BIG BUTT!"
You guessed it, I switched gyms.
So as not to make this a novel, I will jump ahead to Year Sixteen (not to be confused with Sweet Sixteen).
My daughter had officially entered the phase of her teenaged years where she could do anything that she wanted because her mother was so super-gullible and trusted her implicitly. So endearing.
Note to others who try: When you tell the biggest lie of your entire life, it's a really good idea to get your eight involved friends on board and not script-in a faux break-in that will most certainly lead to police involvement.
Day 1 - I flew to Vancouver in the evening to teach for three days; reiterated all of the house rules to grandiose eye rolls and painful sighs. I know that they know what the rules are but I also know that, if I don't say them, like out loud and everything, someone will claim that he or she was unaware of whatever rule they have chosen to ignore.
Day 2 - Taryn phoned me mid-morning to tell me that someone had broken into the house during the night and stolen:
- $60 cash from the bulletin board
- birth control patches from her bedroom (it's for her complexion, I'm not running a brothel)
- and, oh, nothing else
I made sure everyone was safe, accounted for all house and vehicle keys and told her that I would have a police officer over to see them. And, she was good with all of this.
Much like peeling the layers from an onion, this story continued to reveal indiscrepencies as the days went by. Rather than put you through the pain that I went through, I will jump to the end. Much like when we used to whisper an odd phrase in a circle around the campfire, this story had few similarities to the original one.
Taryn had invited a few friends over who called a few friends.... hot tub.... food money used for alcohol.... someone stole things.... somehow convinced younger brother, Liam, to lie to the police for her.... grounded for six months.
I could write all month about her exploits; the grief, the entertainment, her growth and, subsequently, my growth but there is one thing I have said about Taryn since she was an infant that still holds true today:
I love her strength and conviction and I know that she is going to be the type of adult who will stand by her beliefs and will never allow herself to be trodden upon. I will be a better person for allowing her to survive long enough to become that person.