Monday, May 29, 2006

The return of the womanchild

Yesterday afternoon, the womanchild got back from the Destination ImagiNation® Global Finals covered in beads, bracelets and pins, the trading memorabilia of DI. It was such a wonderful experience for her. She hung out with kids from Canada, England, Turkey, Guatemala, American students from The International School in Copenhagen, and kids from all across the nation. She got to experiment with a new product from 3M, stretchable tape. After some of the exhibits she saw, she's convinced that the universe is actually held together by duct tape and velcro, and she's almost convinced me that she's right. She was challenged, motivated and enthusiastic about doing something bigger and better for next year. She's determined to return to the Globals again.

The most exciting thing that I see is that this has opened a new realm of possibilities for her. There's something about living in a small town that can sometimes limit how far away the horizon is perceived. It's even harder for the kids who see themselves as somewhat different. Minor variations from a norm can make them feel like freaks. No matter how many times you tell someone that they can do anything they set their mind to accomplishing, they have to believe it to make it real. She's had her battles with depression during which I've heard far too many times that she's been afraid that she'll end up stuck in this small town with some dead end, boring job. After being with kids a lot like her except for their geography, she sees things a little differently. Today, after waking up after 20 badly needed hours of sleep, she told me that she's determined to go to college somewhere other than Tennessee and preferably out of the country. Now, I'm a UT graduate, and she made sure to let me know that she wasn't trying to put down my alma mater, but she wants something different for herself. I told her to work hard to get the grades and the accomplishments to the point where the colleges she wants will accept her, and I'll work even harder to make sure she can get there. In that respect, we both heard what we wanted to hear.

She also learned how to sneak into and out of a dorm. She went to her first fraternity party. She and some of the other DI kids threw a toga party because they were, after all, at a college, and she's seen Animal House (which features the state flag of Tennessee in the room where the intra-fraternity judgment is held) far too many times. She and her friends stayed up all night more than once. She also went swimming in several of the fountains on campus. She got told she was hot by more than one guy. In some respects, she's always been way too damn precocious for my comfort level, but at least she tells me this stuff.

Today, she had to spend hours adding new friends to her My Space, which seems to be a global teenage experience. She's really missing the kids from B.C., the guys from New York who thought the toga party was a great idea, the kids from Copenhagen with whom she and her local friends killed dozens of Red Bulls. Apparently, Red Bull is illegal in Denmark, and her new friends' plans to take some back was thwarted. They either had to drink it or trash it.

Seeing your child enthusiastic, hopeful, optimistic and motivated to learn and accomplish something is one of the best things a mother can experience. It's almost enough for me to volunteer to be a team mother next year. She just wouldn't want me along on the next trip.


Blogger IndigoSunMoon said...

This is something she will never ever forget. I'm so glad she got to go!

May 29, 2006 10:52 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

She is growing up before our eyes. So nice to hear these wonderful, hopeful things about her. What a contrast to the things she was going through not too long ago. I'm excited for her. :-]

May 30, 2006 9:11 AM  
Blogger Eastern Paranormal said...

To grow is to change to change is to grow.


May 30, 2006 10:41 AM  
Blogger Jod{i} said...

Sigh and a wow...not only huge milestone for her, yet you as well...
I hope the kids from Denmark werent ill, if they drank it ewwww...

May 31, 2006 5:43 AM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

It sounds like her experience was wonderful in every possible way. How wonderful that she is seeing the possibilities for her life. Small towns can be wearing ona young girl's growth. My niece grew up in my hometown and, as she is about to graduate from college, she tells me that most of her friends have babies and divorces already -- assuming they had husbands, that is. It was that way 30 years ago, too.

June 04, 2006 6:08 AM  
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June 10, 2006 2:04 AM  
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July 21, 2006 6:54 PM  

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