The greatest joy of an empty nest is watching what your children do with all that teaching. Do they make smart choices? How are their decision-making skills? Truly, there can not be much greater joy than watching your child make a great decision. Daughter #1 has provided me quite a bit of that in the two years since she's left home. Now begins the pleasure of watching daughter #2 grow into adulthood.
Over the last two weeks, my youngest has done a lot of traveling for a senior not yet out of secondary school. She and one of her high school colleagues raised all but $49 of the money they needed to travel to Orange County, California (yes, Disneyland!) to attend a convention aimed at young people interested in journalism.
"Mom!" daughter #2 proudly exclaimed on her return from California. "I was the navigator of the group." When my kids were little, I always made them do the navigating at any airport. They always had to be the one who would tell me in any situation how to get from point A to point B.
A week later, she flew down to Florida on prom weekend because Navy man could not come up for her senior prom so she went to see him for the weekend instead. On her flight back from Pensacola to Atlanta, she mistakenly read her seat number to Atlanta as her gate number. It just so happened that another flight to Atlanta was boarding at that gate further obscuring her mistake. She discovered it too late and missed her flight starting a downward spiral to her day.
When she called to vent, I urged Zen-like acceptance to restore her calm (apparently not a useful idea to a seventeen-year-old). I reminded her that her mistake was costing her merely time since she didn't have to buy another ticket and only had to pay a $50 rebooking fee.
I was about to say "at least you were prepared with an emergency cash fund so you could rebook your flight." BUT AT THAT EXACT MOMENT SHE SAID IT TO ME. Parenting nirvana. We took a moment to feel what it would be like to solve the problem without an emergency cash fund. Then she went on with her day, downward spiral and all.
For me, my day had just taken an decidedly-upward tilt. My child begrudgingly understood that mistakes happen. What we can control is whether or not we are prepared to recover from them with an emergency cash fund. She was prepared and knew to be prepared. Yea!