Friday, July 15, 2016

Sifting Through Life: I Told my Daughter to Fail

Be prepared to think that I am the absolute worst mom in the world. It's coming--coming--yep, I did it.  I told my oldest daughter to fail. I gave her permission to try life on, and if she fails, its okay.

Let me back up a bit.  It all started with car problems.  We bought a lemon and we paid the price--over $5000 in repairs to keep this POS a float.  Can you tell I don't have fond feelings for this draining machine?  Well, my daughter did though. She loved this car.

Mac was her first car.  Her first big investment into something that was her own. She worked hard for her money and was proud of the little beast of a car.  This past week it started sounding like trolls lived under the hood.  Big trolls whacking the shit out of the engine.  Not a good sound and not one we were wanting to repair.  The bill came in at a whopping $1200.

Keep in mind we spent $2500 on this car.  We thought about donating the car but that was nixed because they wanted running vehicles in descent shape.  Mac was headed to the grave.  We sold him for $50 to a guy who worked on cars and can hopefully breath a few more miles out of him.

Here is our issue--4 drivers and back down to 2 cars.  In Annapolis we did this same scenario with the drivers but with only one car.  It wasn't easy but we did it.

MONEY!  The existence of something necessary, but oh so fleeting, when you need it. We have money.  She has money.  How do we spend it appropriately?  Who buys the car?  Do we co-sign on the car?  Do we buy used or new? Do we even need a car at this time?  Is it 5 O'clock yet?

So many questions and the answers are not easy.  Rye has worked very hard to save her money so she can move out on her own with a roommate.  This whole car thing is jeopardizing her future plans.

I had to use the word "adulting" this week.  I might be going strait to grammar hell for that too.  She is distraught over facing a car payment, having to spend money, and make payments.  Paying your parents back isn't always the position you want to be in. It's something we are willing to do.  Loan our kids money with the idea of paying it back.

Welcome to being a grown-up. Some days life gives you a big old middle finger and you're left feeling deflated and out of options.  I know the feeling and today so does she.  This breaks my heart.

As her parents, we went through a list of possible solutions.  Some she liked and some she did not. Some required working more hours, moving to a new location for public transportation, and some included walking.  What is not an option is us co-signing.  We are opting out of this option for a variety of reasons.

This morning I could tell she was still frustrated and upset.  I get it!  Shit, I've lived it.  You have money but not enough established credit.  You don't want an old car but your budget is too small.  More money going out and less going to savings.  Who hasn't had to play this game of "Do I or Don't I".  It sucks sometimes.

Adulting sucks sometimes.

In our discussion this morning we talked.  We listened to each other.  We vented our frustration with each other and to this whole situation.  I sat on the floor, listening to her talk and  thinking to myself, how am I going to handle this situation. I didn't want to fight.  I didn't want her to feel upset and angry.  I could see that she was sad, angry, and frustrated.

I was being given an opportunity to allow our daughter to feel frustrated and angry in a safe environment.  I was letting her express her anger.  I wanted her to know its okay to feel at a loss for solutions. Sometimes we need to feel the burn of defeat and frustration before we can see that there are options. I told her it's okay to not know all of the answers.

In our exchange of words, she told me that it was unrealistic for her to move to a new location.  It would simply take all of her money and she would fail in eight months.  I stood up and crossed the room.  I grabbed her by her shoulders and gave her the biggest hug and told her I loved her.  I told her that she was of value, that she was smart, and if she failed that we would be here.

I backed away and with big waving hands, I also said, "PLEASE FREAKING FAIL! Please. I would rather see you fail than not try.  What if in that eight months you have the best time of your life? What if you don't fail?  What if you learn that life is about moving forward whether you are failing or succeeding?  Who determines what a fail is anyway?"

I hugged her again. I didn't want to let her go this time. Her life passed before my eyes. The first time she walked, the first time she went to school, graduating from college--I saw it all.  I have been teary eyed all day.  I want her to succeed but sometimes they need a push out of the nest so they can start to fly.  I don't think she is going to move anytime soon.  That is not the point.

The point is I gave her permission to live, to try, and possibly to fail.  Failure is not the end of the world. It's the beginning of a new adventure. It's a reason to try again. Failure does not come easy but it also doesn't need to define you. I want her to try fearlessly and confidently. I want her to try no matter what and if she fails, it's okay too, we get up again and try all over.

As her parent I need her to try.  For herself?  She needs to try too.  It's how we grow as adults. It's how we learn.  It's not easy. I don't think everything should be easy.  I have grown from some of the hardest situations in my life.  Some people have said I failed too.  I'm okay with that.  I know that it only drove me to try again and again. I wish my mom had encouraged me to fail once in a while too. Releasing me from the hell of perfection that I had enlisted my soul to live in through out my teens, twenties and thirties; always afraid to fall, to trip, to make a mistake.

I don't know if anything I said this morning will sink in and resinate with her but I want her to fly like an eagle.  Not to mention she is driving around on a beautiful sunny day at the beach in the cutest red convertible VW Bug.

So yeah, I told my daughter to fail.  It's because I love her that much that I did. I believe she will surprise herself because I see her through my eyes.  That of a mother that would do anything for her children, even if it means, she might have to figure a few things out for herself, fall a few times, and get right back up.

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