When I was a little girl my mother bought my clothes and picked out my outfits every morning. She fed me and tucked me in at night. When I was upset, she knew what was wrong and how to fix it.
When I went to grade school, my teachers knew algebra, geometry, English, science and religion. They knew when my test answers were right and when they were wrong.
When I went to high school, my peers knew the grey between the black and white.
The night before my sister left for her first year of college we went out as a last hurrah for her; it was the summer before my junior year of high school. The two of us, plus some friends of ours -- a mixed crowd of boys and girls -- had reservations at a restaurant and then a movie to catch. But we weren't going to sleep at home that night.
We told my parents we were sleeping at my sister's best friend's house. She was supposed to come to dinner and the movie but had cancelled last minute.
Our real plans? We had gotten some alcohol and a hotel room -- the two of us, along with three of our guy friends, would be spending the night there. Our only intentions were to hang out and drink a little booze -- PG rated plans. But we never made it past the restaurant menu, because the friend that was our alibi had called my parents.
I have two memories of my father when he was really, really, really angry. This is one of them.
On the ride home my sister sat arguing in the front with my Dad; while I sat in silence in the back. The entire ride home, the seatbelt reminder kept dinging, telling the passenger to fasten her seatbelt. My father told her numerous times to put it on, but she refused. So the intermittent dinging rang throughout the 25 minute drive.
Last month, I helped lead a four day retreat for high school seniors at my Alma alter. After we came back, I was talking to one of my former teachers about my experience – how much I enjoyed it and the things I had learned myself.
“When I was there, I realized these girls were looking at me like an adult; like I’m supposed to have all the answers; like I’m supposed to know what to do,” I said to her.
“I know,” she said. “I look around for who’s in charge, and then realize ‘oh, that’s me.’”
We laughed and laughed.
Now, when I’m 23 years-old and out of college, I look at my mom, my teachers and it hits me: the jig is up.