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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-07-18 05:45
Subject: [child] She comes home tomorrow, musings on parenting and mortality
Security: Public
Tags:california, cancer, child, family, health, seattle, travel
[info]the_child comes home tomorrow on the evening train from Seattle. [info]lillypond, a/k/a my sister, is picking her up at the train station at the same time I'm picking [info]seanan_mcguire up at the airport, then we're all meeting for dinner, along with [info]mlerules, Team E— and [info]kenscholes (assuming he's over his case of the screaming crud by then). Which will be an apropos welcome home for her, as the last time I saw my kid was when I took her to the George R.R. Martin party in Seattle two weeks ago.

This summer she has flown to California by herself. She is training back from Seattle tomorrow by herself. She has spent time with her grandmother learning to use the Portland area bus and light rail system, and is now allowed to make trips around town by herself. She is also seriously talking about what kind of job she wants next summer, when she's fifteen and a half. One of the current favorites of hers is working in the office of our family attorneys (with whom she is friends) because, "Lawyers know how to get people to tell them things, and I'd like to learn that."

I think my little kid is growing up.

Every step closer to adulthood, to maturity, is one less brick on my chest over the cancer. Perhaps my greatest fear is dying while she's still in childhood. It is a terrible thing to lose a parent at any age, but that is the way of the world. (Consider the alternative, that the parent loses their child.) Losing a parent before you've really gotten a solid start on finding yourself is much, much harder.

As it happens, there has been a recent cancer death in Mother of the Child's extended family, which has me pondering once again parenthood and illness. And of course, the leading echoes of what is to come for me on these next tests, as always. To see [info]the_child being a little more mature, increasingly self-reliant, and better directed... those are a comfort and a blessing. They are to every parent, I know, but it all has a special meaning to me.

Love that kid.

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User: cathshaffer
Date: 2012-07-18 13:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm glad she's maturing so nicely. My son took his first unaccompanied train trip yesterday. My mother-in-law was kind of shocked, and thought she should come out by train and make the trip with him, but it really was time for him to start being more independent. He did good. *sniff*

(I did have a bit of nerves when a young adult/older teen male passenger glommed onto us at the station and became too friendly with mild oversharing, but nothing bad came of that.)
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User: lindadee
Date: 2012-07-18 13:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You have a wonderful daughter, who, at least for the few minutes I've interacted with her, seems mature beyond her years. And, if it's any comfort to you, I rode the New York City subways solo for the first time when I was 14. (I'd been riding buses a lot earlier than that, though. )
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User: madrobins
Date: 2012-07-18 14:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's simultaneously terrifying and exhalting, watching them become more confident in negotiating the world. I let my kids start at it relatively early by San Francisco standards ("you let her ride BART? By herself? **headshaking**) but I think one of the best things you can do for a kid is let her take ownership of the place she lives. Negotiating New York when I was a tween was a pleasure about which I can still wax rhapsodical.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-07-18 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Once the kid gets of the age where they're reliable on the bus...the world opens up. I remember those days well.
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User: talekyn
Date: 2012-07-18 15:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Two of my favorite writers in the same place. Wish I could be there!

It's amazing watching the kids in your life become adults, isn't it?
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User: shelly_rae
Date: 2012-07-18 16:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Every time I see her she's more lovely, confident and strong. That's one amazing child. Today Portland, tomorrow, the world!
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frabjouslinz: chicken
User: frabjouslinz
Date: 2012-07-18 22:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
She and I spent some time this past week talking about things: specifically Scott and my adopting. She's really mature for her age, eloquent and insightful. You and her mom have done wonderful jobs as her parents, and it shows. She's a joy to have around. Although I think she has the energy of 10 Mikis, which is saying a lot. :)
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User: fledgist
Date: 2012-07-19 01:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sounds to me as if you've got an amazing kid there.
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