Do you remember how old you were the first time you were allowed to go to The Easter Show without your parents?
For non-Australian readers, substitute “The State Fair” for The Easter Show.
If you’re interested, click the link to find out more about The Sydney Royal Easter Show.
I think that you’ve probably guessed by now where this post is going. Today my almost-but-not-quite-fourteen-year-old daughter Alana got on a train with four of her friends and headed for The Show.
Allowing Alana to go to The Show sans parents wasn’t a particularly difficult decision. It’s a public event which is very family friendly. She’ll be with a group of friends – the “safety in numbers” principle. And, most importantly, I trust her.
Let me expand on that idea a little bit. Alana is a beautiful girl, inside and out. She is thoughtful, sensible, loyal, honest, level-headed, kind and good. She’s not a risk taker or a thrill seeker. She doesn’t try to push boundaries. I know that she makes good decisions and so I trust her.
More than that, I believe in her. I believe that she has the knowledge and skills and resources to cope with any eventuality today. I trust her in this sense too.
And so I sent her off to The Show today.
The Easter Show is traditionally an agricultural show, bringing the country to the city and showcasing the judging of livestock and produce. It includes competitions including arts and crafts, photography and cookery, as well as tests of strength and skill such as wood chopping. There are many exhibits including a horticultural display.
There is also a wide selection of show bags, as well as a pretty awesome carnival.
During the day Alana has been in touch with me via text messages. What on earth did our poor parents do in the days before mobile phones? They had to send us off into the world and just trust that we’d be all right. They didn’t have any contact with us until the end of the day. In contrast, I’ve had this message (as well as others):
“I just went on two terrifying rides!! :O but it was so fun!”
How cool is that!
Parenting, though, is never easy. Things are never that simple. There was a little issue.
How were the girls going to get home?
You see, this visit to The Show is part of a birthday extravaganza for one of Alana’s friends, and includes a sleepover tonight. Which means that I’m required to rely on someone else’s mother to make sure that Alana gets home safely.
At first, the girls were planning on getting on a train and being picked up from a station not too far away from The Show. But I didn’t feel comfortable with that. Not in the dark at 9 or 10 at night. And so I became “that mother”. The one that makes waves. The one that says “no” when the other mothers say “yes”.
And so I investigated whether or not it would be possible for the birthday girl’s mother to pick them all up directly from The Show. I searched the Internet, made phone calls and sent emails. And lo and behold, the birthday girl’s mother was thankful for my help and not annoyed that I butted in. She was happy to have the information about the designated pickup zone at The Show.
So where am I at right now? Alana’s still out there as we speak. Still texting me with updates on how much fun she’s having!
“…now we’re waiting until the fireworks start…we got to see the animals and the petting zoo! ❤ love you :)"
I’m so blessed!
I’ve held off on publishing this post until hearing from Alana that she’s been picked up safe and sound from The Show by her friend’s mother.
Another parenting milestone has been successfully reached!
Where are you on this journey? How have you navigated the difficult waters of teenage freedom?