It was my daughters 21st birthday last weekend. You may call me a sop for admitting this but I still get teary eyed reflecting about the little sperm and egg that done good all those years ago. From a microscopic speck to a five foot seven inch, blonde haired, hazel eyed force of nature. Part me, part The Mother (read: Ex #2), part who knows what else because she’s certainly got something from somewhere else. I love her dearly; have been so proud of all her achievements from her first words and her first steps, to her first recital and first day at college. Yet there is one thing…
Maybe I should explain. I’m a billionaire see: those fancy phones and tablets you’re always waving about, odds are in the continental US that the rare metals that make them tick came from a mine I own overseas. What this means is that my beautiful daughter never wanted for anything when she was growing up.
She was the girl who had everything.
She had a wardrobe of shoes before she could walk.
For her birthday she didn’t go to Disney, Disney came to her en masse. I tell you there were a few weird encounters in the toilets that day.
When her friends were playing with My Little Pony, her Little Pony, was well.. a Little Pony.
When I say friends, I don’t think I ever learnt the name of one. She seemed to always be surrounded by them and always discarding them. I put it down to little girls petty games. No matter what drama erupted in her cliques, she always had countless more ‘friends’ stepping up.
She didn’t just have a private tutor, she had a private school whose principal was on my speed dial and conveniently enough granted entry to our country club shortly before we enrolled her. We certainly had no problem ensuring the best education, results, for her.
A ticket into space (I thought it was one way).
When people her age started sleeping around, naturally she did the naughty with the football captain and then decided she didn’t want to be like the others. So she popped to a clinic and emerged a half hour later with her halo back in place. Blame the mother.
Her voice changed over time too. No not by some kind of surgery. That sweet little voice that used to greet me when I came home asking nicely, hesitantly, for this and that, became somewhat shriller, more expectant as she grew up. She was the girl who had everything, and wanted more. Now, if you please.
Blame me for that one.
Ahead of any girls 21st birthday, the pressure builds on the parent. What do we give, what do we provide that shows our pride, our love. Something special and unique. For the girl who had everything, it was especially hard. I spent months leading up to it worrying. Oh I wasn’t short for ideas. She provided them. Daily.
Then the day arrived. My little girl had turned twenty one. A fully grown woman ready to take on the world. The twinkle of my eye. Sharper than a draw full of knives, more beautiful than Miss Universe, and more demanding… always more demanding… than anything you can imagine. So what did I give her on her twenty first birthday?
A small Caribbean island?
I gave her an envelope.
She didn’t even bat an eye lid, such was her expectation of extravagance and she tore the letter open without ceremony as friends and family watched. I sipped from my champagne, the drink she was now allowed but had supped since she was thirteen despite my efforts to restrict her. The colour drained first from her face. Her breath caught. Her eyes darted speculatively about, searching for me. Then she threw the letter and envelope down and ran off in a fit of tears.
A piece of tumbleweed drifting across the room would not have been out of place. Such was the silence and awkwardness that filled the room in my daughter’s absence. People looked at me, I sipped my champagne. I had done it, I had pulled it off.
What on earth could you get the girl who had everything?
So I cancelled her trust fund.
I got nothing for the girl who has everything.
It was probably the best piece of parenting I’ve ever done.