At 7 I ran away from home to find my purpose in life and by 11am I was home, starving. No one had even missed me. When I asked 'them' where they thought I was, they replied, 'in your tree house - probably with a good book.'
Yesterday my 18 year old grand daughter caused a STIR in the home by disappearing.
The facts of the case are:
Katy is 18,
She is in possession of a legal driver's licence;
She has her own motor car, gifted to her for her 18th birthday.
She is sound of mind.
She is desperately trying to be independent,
She has recently begun her final matric exams.
Her Afrikaans paper loomed large on the horizon towards the end of last week.
She would have liked to have driven herself to her first major exam the week before that, but her mother told her that she needed to be calm and rested before her exam., definitely not stressed out by drivers in the early morning CRUSH of traffic in Johannesburg.
Why IS it called rush hour when one is often at a standstill for long periods of time?
The taxi driver is a different breed of person. He absolutely has to race about picking up passengers and getting them to their destinations as fast as inhumanly possible in order to make some sort of profit for himself after paying the actual owner of the taxi a substantial amount of money.
There are no excuses however.
He does not obey the rules of the road and makes an extra lane of traffic up the sidewalk and he swerves in and out of the trees in order to bypass long completely stationery lines of traffic. Coming face to face with a taxi when he cannot get back into his line of traffic because drivers are so sick and tired of the irresponsible way he drives, is common and VERY irritating. A lot of hooting and sign language goes on.
So it seemed to Katy that she was doomed to be driven around the town like her younger siblings for ever. It seemed as though all the blood sweat and terror spent in her journey to get her driver's licence was a complete waste of time.
She grew crafty and timed her request the day before her second big exam, carefully. She asked her mother, when she was utterly relaxed, if it would be okay if she drove her self to her exam the following day. As she was not concentrating properly, her mother answered, 'yes.' They decided she should leave at about 7.45 am to get to school in very good time.
The next part of the story was communicated to my by my daughter in hysterical texts. It was very early in the morning of the second important matric exam.
They were flung at me like cricket balls firing from an automatic bowling machine.
Loud harsh PING!
'Mom, I've woken in a panic. How COULD I have agreed to allow Katy to drive herself to her exam today? Am I crazy?
What if a taxi takes her out on the way?'
Before I could react the next one pinged.
'Mom, she's not in her bedroom.'
'She's not in the kitchen, neither is she in either of the showers.' The boys are flooding the house...............again!'
'I'm panicking, where is she? It's only 6.55am'
Before I could suggest anything at all...............another ping, this one even more frantic than the last.
HER CAR IS GONE!'
'KATY HAS OUTWITTED ME!'
'Katy is safely at school. (Emoji with a tear leaking down its face). Mom this is SO HARD. Why didn't you warn me that is is so terribly difficult to let go?'
By this time, several hundred kilometres away I was chuckling to myself and congratulating my grand daughter on her escape.
After getting permission to drive herself to school she had got up and ready at the crack of dawn and had made sure she had left the property before she knew her mother would change her mind. This is a picture of an artful and thwarted teenager who is dying to fly on wings of freedom from the parental nest.
I'm still smiling as I remember the pep talks I gave myself constantly when it came to letting the mother of my grandchild free to make some important decisions by herself.
So I write that advice down for my daughter.
'Let Katy go my love. Tell her you trust her and let her get on with her life.
She is responsible and loves you and will not let you down.'
'I know mom, but it is SO HARD.'
I cannot tell her that this is just the beginning