I was walking to the post office this morning, swinging to and fro the canvas bag I use to carry the mail, and I was struck by this very strong, not-very-good memory. When I was married the first time, a 20 year old mom, I had a job at a little cafe type place. We would take home-baked muffins and cookies and bagels to surrounding businesses, and that was my job; the goody deliverer. I hated that job; I mean, hated it with a purple passion. It seemed like such a demeaning, useless type of job, plus I felt like Little Red Riding Hood. Without the hood or the perky little whistle. Anyway, we used to make these cookies, these really tasty chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal and a touch of cinnamon. I would get into my car to do the driving part of my route and just cram these cookies in my mouth, the sweet taste mingling with my salty tears. This was before I discovered alcohol as the BEST way of deadening feelings, so I ate instead. I was so unhappy, so sad at the way my marriage was already falling apart, and I was obviously incapable at that point in my life to deal with my emotions in anything resembling a sane manner. I still have the recipe for those cookies, and the thought of making them always makes me feel very sad for that girl I was so many years ago. It has been a long time since I have stuffed myself with food in order to bury unpleasant emotions, and though I love to eat right along with the best of them (hence the nickname at my house lately of Queen Fat Ass), it doesn't hold the same power over me that it used to.
I don't even really now why that particular memory cropped up today. Maybe because Hannah is getting ready to go on her first date this Saturday, and I don't want her to be locked in her car eating cookies four years from now in order to feel temporarily sated. I don't know about this whole DATE thing. There has been SO much going on in her life over the last 8 months that I don't know that going on a date right now is a good thing for her. However, I am also aware that I don't want her dating anyone. Ever. So I might just be looking for valid reasons to lock her in the house, I don't know. I KNOW I can't do that, and I also know I can't; her safety is not contingent on my presence (though do you think they would mind if I just followed along at a discreet distance? Like in the back seat?), as we have learned, and I have to let her take these baby steps forward. The idea of her dating just seems so surreal to me, so-not okay. The good thing is that she has been friends with this boy for a year or so; I haven't met him (Yet. I think it will be a great ice-breaker when I copy down the make, model and license number from his car when he comes to pick her up, don't you?), but she has talked to him pretty consistently throughout the year, and I think he is one of two school friends who know about her stint in the BHC and why she isn't going to school. That indicates a certain level of trust, which is a positive. She said he is a little bit chubby, which ALSO makes me happy (we larger folk need love, too, guys, come ON!); that means along the way somewhere she has listened and found that it is less about looks than it is about finding someone you can have fun with. Plus he wants to take her to dinner and-get this-bowling. Which ALSO means he isn't a snob or a jock; in fact, he may be on the nerdy side, which is just fine with me!
April posted today about Evolution, and while I didn't comment, it was a really great post about how we DO evolve and change; our kids are in general smarter than us, just as we as a generation are smarter than those who came before us. I hope this is true for my daughter; I hope that she has evolved to the point where this one date will not lead to sex in three months and a marriage/baby at nineteen. I hope that she has evolved over the last year to be a strong young woman who can say FUCK NO and mean it. And I hope she has evolved enough to remember that this first date is just that- a first. A wonderful, scary, terribly horrifying yet beautiful first. And I hope this young man is evolved enough to know that if he does not have my daughter home on time, I will hunt him down.