I am raising such independent daughters. In the main, I consider this a good thing. A great thing, even. But that's when I take the long view. In the short term, it can be frustrating, disappointing or even a little sad. Sometimes it's all three of these things at once.
Tuesday was K's Thanksgiving Luncheon at school. I had RSVP'd to her teacher that I would be there, but hadn't mentioned it to K. She was pleased to see me when she walked into the hallway and chattered away as we walked to the cafeteria. As a treat (is this really a treat?), I let K buy her lunch. It's the first time this school year she's purchased lunch instead of eating a lunch packed at home, so she was excited to stand in line and give her money to the cashier. After she had her tray, there was much debating about where to sit. She wanted to sit by P, then by M. The tables were rather full at this point. I asked K if she wanted to move to another table. That wasn't a good option since she wanted to be sitting with her friends. We finally settled down beside K's friend P and K started to eat her turkey and dressing.
After a few bites, K leaned over and said to me, "You can go now."
Me: "Go where, honey? Do you need me to get you something?"
K: "No, you can go sit at another table."
Me: "Don't you want me to stay with you while you eat your lunch?"
K: "Is it OK with you if you go? I want to eat with P."
Me: "Well, OK. But if I go, I'm not going to go sit at a table by myself. I came to eat with you."
K: "I can sit by you next Thanksgiving, right?"
Me: "Sure you can. Are you positive that you want me to go?"
K: "Yes. You go home."
Me: "Can I have a hug and a kiss before I go?"
After several hugs and kisses, I headed out.feeling a mixture of pride, disappointment and amusement. I'm frankly a bit proud of K that she was willing to admit she'd rather have lunch with her friend than with me. I was a bit disappointed that she chose the friend over me, but felt far more amusement at the situation than anything else. It's rare that I join my children for lunch at school. It's hard to talk over the din in the cafeteria, they enjoy their time with peers and I would rather eat my lunch at home than pack it up to eat in a cafeteria. So as I signed up and joined K for lunch, I was thinking this was a treat for her. Turns out that was more my impression than hers. Which was fine.
Until my cell phone rang about ten minutes after I'd left. Turns out K changed her mind and had been crying since I left. Ahh, the joys of parenting, where conceding to a child's wish leaves her in tears. Oh, well. We can sit together next Thanksgiving, right?