My daughter started her internship yesterday.
Ok- so that’s the lead- but what’s the rest of the story?
She applied to a few different internship programs, because as you know, internships are difficult to get, especially if you have few connections. Many firms are cutting back on these types of opportunities, so for a High School student, finding an internship can be daunting. Though she interviewed for many, there were not a plethora of offers. But, she did secure a good spot which more importantly fit her time frame. (TBH, she needs to look at colleges this summer, and she has a TON of summer homework, plus she takes her second SAT in late August, and oh yeah, because she plays a fall sport, tennis practice begins halfway through August- three weeks before school starts.
Of course- my daughter had delusions of grandeur: in her mind she was going to sashay into the office and start running things. I kind of put in perspective that she would probably have a lot of busy work. As it turns out, we were both sort of right and sort of wrong: though yesterday she did a bunch of folding and envelope stuffing, tomorrow she actually begins a project that is tedious by the sound of it, yet important. Like anything- tedious but necessary.
Sunday night she had a little attack of nerves. She said to me “What if I make a mistake? What if I screw up? This isn’t school, where I might not like a bad grade, but I know I will survive. What if I do something wrong?” I reminded her that she wasn’t performing brain surgery. She wasn’t defending someone of death row. And that everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. Just because it’s a job and people are supposed to be adults doesn’t make them infallible. I doled out the Mom playbook and I told her to listen to what she’s being told, take notes, write lists, and ask questions. Just like she has done since she was four years old and went to Kindergarten. I reminded her that the qualities that make her a successful student will be the same qualities that make her a successful person in the work force. I don’t know how convinced she was, but she nodded her head.
I went back down memory lane as I helped her get dressed yesterday morning: I took her suit and blouse out of the closet, secured her necklace clasp, smoothed her hair down under the rarely used headband. As I stepped back to look at her, all I could think was “How did this happen? How is my kid old enough to be heading to an office for a “real” job? Wasn’t she just starting nursery school?” For a second, I had a little attack of nerves.
Yes- I had one of those Mom moments. I busied myself with making sure she had tissues and her metrocard. Made sure she knew where the closest deli to the office was. Straightened her suit one more time. Kissed her cheek as she went out the door….
No. I didn’t cry. I didn’t even get weepy. Because even though this is a new stage for her, I know I have given her as many tools as possible to survive in the real world. I know I have spent the past 16 1/2 years preparing her to walk out the door and survive in any setting. I have prepared her to not need me. And that felt good. She knows I’m in her corner, but she also knows she can tackle anything she sets her mind to.
I’ve parented her to the best of my abilities. She will always be my baby, and I will always be her Mommy. But I know she’s ready to get on with her life. And I’m ready to get on with mine.