Friday brought a milestone: G's first overnight trip with her Girl Scout troop. I'd had a very long day at work, and after I dropped her off at the scout house where she was staying, my first impulse was to go straight home and collapse. But I thought I ought to go somewhere just to say I had -- it isn't often that I have a weekend night to myself -- so I went to Borders and wandered around aimlessly for half an hour or so. I bought a book and two magazines, picked up takeout for dinner, and went home, where I ate while sitting on my bed and checking my e-mail.
At 9:30 p.m., I was sound asleep, still fully dressed, with the laptop open next to me and the empty takeout bag and bookstore purchases strewn around me on the bed. I woke up that way at 6:00 the next morning when one of the cats decided that he needed to be petted. Good grief. I didn't want to go out dancing or anything like that, but it would have been nice to at least get to read a chapter of my book. (I did read it the following evening, though -- good stuff.)
Anyway, on Saturday morning, the Scout troop was supposed to head to a nearby beach to take a guided tour of the tidepools and then go swimming. The troop leaders do a great job, but it's impossible for two people to simultaneously keep an eye on 15 six-to-ten-year-olds, and while G is a cautious kid and not likely to do anything crazy, it's a big ocean and she can't swim a stroke. So, for my own peace of mind, I had arranged to go along for that part of the event, which I did. Sure enough, the girls were fine while the ranger was leading them around the tidepools, but as soon as they got onto the beach proper, they scattered in every direction, and it was all the other moms and I could do to keep counting heads and making sure we hadn't lost any of them.
While we were there, one of the troop's co-leaders came up to me and said "Your daughter is amazing -- responsible, helpful, and kind to everyone. She's a great example to the younger girls." This was great to hear, because of all the things I would like G to be, "helpful and kind" are at the top of the list. She really is a very kind person, and also a generous one -- so much for the stereotype of the selfish, spoilt only child.
Later on, when the same co-leader and I were talking a bit about her six-year-old being clingy and timid, I said that G had been very much the same way at that age, and even more so a few years before that, and she couldn't believe it. She said that G seemed very mature and at peace with herself, and it's true that she does now, but it's been a combination of me (and P, when he was still with us) nudging her to do things on her own, and a growing-up process that happened by itself and had nothing to do with me. Six-year-old G would never have been able to handle an overnight stay without me (nor would I have let her, since I knew she wasn't ready yet), but nine-year-old G can go and be just fine. I wonder what 12-year-old G will be capable of doing?