By Gretchen Leigh
I wrote a few weeks ago about my youngest daughter matter-of-factly driving to Seattle for Comicon. It really wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except that she had to drive there a couple times under duress.
After she and her compadres lost the car at last year’s anime convention, she vowed never to drive into Seattle again. It reminded me of when she was little. Before she turned 5, she had a temper that is every mother’s worst nightmare. Anything could provoke her, but the injustices of the world, especially those she deemed directly targeted her, created the worst of them. Her little face would get beet red up to the hairline of her platinum tresses, she’d screw up her eyes and mouth in fury, then explode like a volcano.
Her tantrums were often related to her black and white view of the world. So if she tried a food she didn’t like she would exclaim, “I am never eating again.” Her dad once gave her a taste of an orange soda. Having never drank soda before she wasn’t expecting the bubbles, though he warned her. She took one sip, hit her dad for his blatant disrespect of her fine sensitivities, and declared she would never drink again.
She was indeed difficult to deal with in those moments, but as her mother my biggest worry was for her future. What kind of an adult would she be if she went through life with that kind of temper? I would placate my fears by telling myself and anyone who heard her screaming through the neighborhood that she would be a fine teen because she was getting it all out of her system at her young age. Fortunately, I was right. By the time she turned 5, she had calmed down immensely.
However, the black and white view of the world, the statements that she would never do things that displeased her again, those have remained into her early adulthood. What I’ve come to realize is she needs to say it and think it’s true, then come to her own conclusion in her own time about future attempts at difficult tasks. She would attempt previously uncomfortable situations when she wanted the end result enough bad enough.
Before this year’s Comicon, my daughter did drive to Seattle to purchase a coveted pair of Doc Martins with her graduation money. Granted, the store was not directly downtown so she could skirt the majority of her angst, but still, she wanted those boots enough to venture out to the big city.
So when Comicon came there was no question. She didn’t tell me she was driving all the way in until the last minute. I raised my eyebrow, but since I wasn’t involved I only warned her not to lose the car. It was an uneventful, successful venture and she’ll probably do it again for the next convention.
This week, she informed me she was driving herself and a couple friends to the airport to pick up another friend flying in from college for spring break. Again, my eyebrows went up as I remembered when she was with me in the car on our way to the airport last summer, “I am never driving to the airport on my own, it’s too confusing.” But when she and her friends hatched this plan to start their reunion with their high school squad from the moment the friend’s flight touched down, none of the previous life declarations entered her head.
They’ll do just about anything when they want it bad enough.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing and her blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh,” or twitter @livewithgleigh. Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.