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Friday, February 19, 2010

Letting Go

It feels strange when a child goes into Junior College. From school uniform to school schedule, that child escapes the parent's oversight. It feels odd, though not unpleasant. After all, one feels less burdened.

I've often wondered how JC students wear their blouses such that it is still tucked into the skirt but the fold reaches around the hips. The uniform has not changed from the time I wore mine, and for the life of me, I could not figure out how I would have managed to wear my old school uniform so that the shirt hangs around the hips when tucked in. Besides, I wouldn't have wanted to because it offends my sense of aesthetics. The womanly waist line is a thing of beauty, why hide it instead of accentuate it?

Puzzled.

Anyway, The Daughter breezes into the kitchen this morning with that impossible attire and for the first time, I got the inside story of how it's done. Shush! Don't tell anyone. It's not tucked in at all.... Nah uh! Not tucked in! It seems that some tailors make some clever modifications and voilà! The JC Hipster Look is ready to wear! And when it's on The Daughter, it looks like Paris designer fashion so I have nothing to say.

But it's really against the rules you know.... and I have always brought The Daughter up to obey the rules, and this flagrant flouting of school rules would have been a good excuse for some Prolonged Parental Pontification... except that it seemed inappropriate to inflict that on a young lady taller than I, who has developed poise, confidence and is able to freeze-stare down a 50 year old doctor who dared to treat her like a child by brushing off her questions. No, no... I wouldn't want to be The Daughter's daughter for that stare can chill one to the bones.

Of course, she doesn't dare to use it on me.

The Daughter makes it a point to give me a heads-up about exactly what time she will be home every day. She does that religiously without being reminded. I appreciate that because then I know when to call the police. You see, if she says she'll be home by 7 and isn't home yet by 9, then I call the police. But even with such a considerate daughter, I feel a sense of unease when I notice that she comes home late every day.

Nonetheless, I know that JC activities extend up to 10pm on many occasions, and all I can bring myself to say is "Yeah... JC life is like that. One practically lives at school. It is up to you to structure pockets of time for your homework and revisions."

I cannot say more than that because it would be too constraining. It would hamper her psychological maturation because she would have no opportunity to exercise self-discipline and good judgment. Sure... she may misjudge sometimes and get into trouble. Sure... there are dangers of venereal disease and emotional heartbreak. But that is the price to pay for the rites of passage into adulthood. You make mistakes and you learn.

For me, it is downhill from here. The day will come when I will rely on her, and she needs to grow in stature and in wisdom so that she can lead me gently into the twilight. I have done all I could to provide her with a moral compass and a strong sense of values. It is time to set her free with nothing but those and her own wits, to explore the world.

The old tribal societies were wise. They sent their teenagers out naked, with no weapons and if they perished, they perished. That way, the tribe ensured that the fittest survived and help the tribe to prosper.

But man! It takes a lotta nerve outta me!

15 comments:

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

ah, me thinks your daughter would be wise enough not to get all the nasty bits of life. =)))

petunialee said...

Fry - I trust her too... But one worries nonetheless. It's like Indiana Jones taking the leap of faith over the chasm in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".

You know you can trust but staring down that chasm still makes the heart go pitter-patter.

Blur Ting said...

So well written :-)

I know how that hipster look is done too ;-) Shhh.

petunialee said...

Thank you Ting... I guess you must feel the same way huh?

Open Kitchen Concept said...

hehe.. I also so understand the hipster part.. after all, that's how we wear our uniforms in JC too.. :P What JC though because I think the skirt cutting also affects the overall look.. :P

Open Kitchen Concept said...

hehe.. I also so understand the hipster part.. after all, that's how we wear our uniforms in JC too.. :P What JC though because I think the skirt cutting also affects the overall look.. :P

petunialee said...

I shall have to sms you the JC... or else The Daughter might get hauled up because her mom snitched. Heeeeee!

lemongrass said...

I think it is still too early to be arriving at downhill stage of life. People these days (especially in the Asian context) are still pretty much dependent and reliant on parents till they have their first kid.

fiona said...

how?! we simply folded and clipped the hem with a bobby pin :p

petunialee said...

lemongrass - Yup! Yup!

petunialee said...

Fiona - Aaaaaaaaaah! There's another way to do it without the clip. Heh! Heh! But I think you would know that too.

Blur Ting said...

Yes, I share the same sentiments as you, seeing our kids turning into young adults. But you express it so well!

lemongrass said...

Hey Petunia! By the way, are you able to guess who I am?

petunialee said...

Lemongrass - JF?

lemongrass said...

^__^ Yes. It's me!