“Our daughter is the happy moments of our past, joyful moments of our present and the promise of our future!”Quote By: Some Fortune Cookie Somewhere
This has been an amazing 18 years and witnessing many of her firsts was special. I was there when she was born and had her first sneeze. I was there when she had her first feed. When she had her first day at nursery, I was there. When she began taking her first steps, you guessed it, I. Was. There. I have been there for many of my daughter’s firsts and we were as thick as thieves. But, at the back of my mind, I knew the day would come when another male person would be more important to her. The day she would choose (insert boy’s name) instead of dad. And that day was finally here.
When she came home at 15 years old and told said, ‘Mum, dad, there is a boy I like’, we knew this was a cross roads for us as a family. We had already started the dance of the visa process so, our gut reaction was to say, ‘not now honey’, as we didn’t want to derail our plans; we didn’t want to risk this colossal dream falling through our fingers.
Realising my little girl was no longer little was mentally challenging. Through the years, I could feel our relationship changing. She began to speak less and less to me and more to mum, which is understandable because she is becoming a young woman, so needed mum more than ever. However, for 10 years I was her go to guy for any thing she wanted to talk about; before she went to secondary school (high school). So, that was hard to let go of. I knew we shouldn’t have sent her to a mixed secondary, Ruth.
When I got wind she was becoming interested in boys, I had mixed emotions. The strongest, was anger! Yes, I was angry! But, not because she had met someone she like, liked, but because of the implications on the family’s decision to move move to Australia. I thought the worse. I have worked with teenagers for over 20 years and know how the can throw their futures away on a whim. And that’s all I saw. Even though we had raised a conscientious, smart and thoughtful young lady – all I saw was the end of her future. I don’t know if you have been in that position where you can see someone about to trip, fall and hurt themselves but nothing you can do would change it. That’s how I felt at the time, when she came home at 15 years old and told us ‘mum, dad, there is a boy I like‘,
Unbelievable! We nearly made it to Aus without dealing with this. We then came back to reality and sat down with our daughter, to discuss dating and to talk about this ‘BOY’. This conversation was set against the context of us getting together when we were 14 years old and now at 37 and we are still going strong; this was her example of a relationship, so it was difficult for us to pass it off as ‘puppy love’ or you’ll find someone else!
So, when she said a boy at school liked her, it caught us off guard. I knew this time it was different. She had that look in her eye. It took me back to when she was in primary school and a boy in her class gave her a flower. She was in year 6 and I didn’t like it! I didn’t like it one bit. She was smitten back then and it was even worse now. I told Ruth this was going to be a big problem for our move to Australia!
Fast forward 18 months and we had gone through the whole dilemma of how the relationship will work, long term (more on this soon) and we had finally arrived in Australia. Now, two months later, we were here, standing at Canberra’s small airport saying goodbye to our not so baby, baby, for the next six months. I had done a lot to prepare myself for this moment but I still had doubts about whether she was thinking about her future (financial future). My African up bringing was clashing with my European up bringing, but what could I do?
I had a thousand questions:
- Would she continue to do her art work?
- Would she finish education – go to university
- Would she get a job?
- What would she do all day, while in London?
- Would she be safe?
- Would we still have an amazing connection?
- Would she become ghetto? Well, I didn’t say they were all rationale questions…
“Time to go little girl!” I said, with a heavy heart. As we gave each other hugs, waved goodbye, we agreed that she would text at every opportunity and call everyday at 7:30. We did the typical African thing and said our “see you laters”, which lasted for 20 minutes! As she walked away from us and towards her next chapter, I felt a great sense of pride and sadness. Sadness that I was going to miss her, but pride because we had raised a confident, independent and smart young lady. I don’t think I could have done what she was about to do when I was that age.
RjOZ: I tried my best for her not to see me cry, I tried to keep it as light hearted as possible. I was so proud of this young lady I thought I would burst.
The next 24 hours would see us track her flights, wake up in the middle of the night for status updates on he group chat with her boyfriend and generally get used to her not being here everyday.
After getting together at 14 and becoming pregnant at 17, life was not easy for us. We have had many ups and downs over the years, as we tried to manage our teenage hormones and work our way through parenthood, however we have created an outstanding 19 year old and an awesome 10 year old; we are doing much better than people around us expected and we became the statistical exception to the rule.
Thank you for reading this far and for your continued support.
Stay tuned for the next episode of “Our daughter left us”.
As a reward for reading all the way to this point, here is a Mystery Link to get you giggling. “Mummy wow… I’m a big girl now!”
Peace, Love and Happiness
The Jalloh family