In December 2012, my daughter Camille moved back to the States. She had lived and worked in London for almost 10 years. A change was in her stars, she grabbed the opportunity and came to Miami. After all, her parents were here and it was as good a place as any to start anew.
Needless to say, I was thrilled. Through the years she was away, I visited London often, which was a bonus since it’s my favorite city. Still, that she would be here was absolutely wonderful. Of course, it has not been smooth sailing. It never is when an adult child moves back with her parents, but overall this has been a great idea.
First and foremost, we have time to sit back and have long talks. Skype is convenient and the best thing when you live apart, but face-to-face conversations are priceless. Being able to hug her when I feel like it, pamper her if she is sick, cook her favorite meals……it’s wonderful. These, however, are not the only things that make me so happy of having her here. What I have learned from my daughter makes me happier!!!
Camille was born in Miami and grew up in Curaçao. She left home at 17 to go for a post-graduate year at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut; then on to Emmanuel College in Boston and finally the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. She worked in art and jewelery, traveled extensively and enjoyed every minute of her life abroad. So coming to Miami is just coming back home, in a way. How long will she stay is up in the air, but I am enjoying her stay with us.
As parents, we tend to think we are the only ones who can teach. Very seldom do we stop to think about what we can learn from our children. I think I have been like that most of my motherhood years. Of course, we are absolutely wrong!!! From the way our children answer to our queries, the way they offer opinions about our daily encounters with our jobs, housework, the neighbors, our pets and so much more, we should have deducted that they can be spot on. Everyone tells us that truth comes out of the mouths of babies. Why aren’t we paying attention and learning from those truths? In the last 18 months, I have been paying attention….and I have learned!!.
Camille’s influence has been gradual, she is insightful and observant. She doesn’t rush into anything and is careful with decisions and opinions. She is thorough and pays attention to details, has a lot more patience that I would ever have. She is not argumentative, but can get her point across….just give her time. These have given me pause, thinking before I rush to conclusions. She tells me she likes the calmer me!!!
Questioning our choices of food, such as, was one of her first observations. The ones that know me, know that I make reservations far better than I cook. Yes, I cook everyday for lunch, but nothing fancy, nothing complicated and everything quick. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite tasks……has to be done, I do it, period. There was only my husband and I so, food preparation became totally a matter of making easier dishes, whatever that took. After all, we could always go out to eat.
Everyone would be surprised to know I am enjoying cooking more, buy organic most of the time, buy fruits and vegetables in season, cook with healthy oils (olive and coconut). I have always used real butter and sugar, so that pleased her. There are no fried foods served at my table and her father has learned to eat veggies when I serve them. A great step forward for him, trust me! With all this healthy eating, we have lost weight and have more energy and feel so much better.
Last year, I decided to let my hair go grey. Camille was my first and most ardent supporter. She has seen me through the good and the bad days with this experiment. Now that my hair is short and I can’t wait for it to grow, she points out that it looks healthy, has shine, bounces and makes me look younger. What else can I say. She is my number one confidence booster. This process would have been a lot harder without her.
Since moving to Miami, I have made little progress in the friends department. I was sure that I have all the friends that I need already. Without missing a beat, Camille has put me in touch with women she meets who seem interesting and have things in common with me. Not everyone has turned into a friend, but I have learned to be more open-minded with people in this new adventure life has offered me. Try, she says, why not? all that can happen is that you like them!!! She should know because she makes friends so easily.
I have always been the cheer them along mother. My children could count on me to make them see the best of a situation. Sometimes, I surprised myself how I could turn something painful into a good experience because of what they learned. I still do, but never tried that for myself. Camille, having learned the lesson, cheers me along when I need it. Better yet, she has made me see that I can be my cheerleader.
I am not a morning person, never have. I think you are productive if you are organized, not because you get up early. Sunsets are more my thing than sunrises. Camille has to get up early for work. Believe it or not, I do too!! I prepared breakfast, we chat, she leaves for work and I find myself with more hours to do my work around the house, go for a walk, anything. The days seem longer and somehow, I don’t mind. What a change!!!
She is always planning a trip or two, planning outings with her friends, getting down to the pool or finding somewhere interesting to visit in Miami. She is very social and can’t just spend days without something exciting to do. Her enthusiasm is contagious. I find myself more inclined to do the same, in a smaller scale, of course. I enjoy my time with myself too much, but have learned to see the advantages of joining in the fun!!!
I could spend more time just listing every good lesson I have learned from my daughter. I am sure I could fill a book with them. Fortunately, it is so much interesting and fun to just go with her flow, listen to her clever advice about being good to myself and going places we both can enjoy. The biggest lesson I have learned from my daughter: be good to myself, nobody else knows me better and nobody else has my best interest in mind!!! Tossing the Old has been my contribution, Listening to the New has been in no small part, hers. Thank you, Beautiful!!!