My daughter will have a wonderful exchange.

I was blogging away so well…until we got the news that my daughter is leaving us for France next year. I guess I should deal with the issues that this raises for me. One of the reasons that this is hard is that she reads my blog – both of my children read it. That is OK, I don’t mind, but as a parent I try to hide my frailties. I don’t want my children to have all of my faults, even to know about some of them. I don’t pretend to be perfect, but I would hate for my fears and insecurities to be passed on. They don’t always need to know how my mind works! I am trying to establish a secure environment for them – one where they can be children without cares and I will worry about the bad stuff for them. This may be a huge parenting mistake on my behalf – maybe in doing this I have restricted their emotional freedom. I don’t think that I have – they laugh easily and show passion. I just want to shield them, I want them to be oblivious to my conflicts and turmoils so that they will only feel the joy and see the positives.

SO…while my mind is only just beginning to think about the reality of 2008 and the enormous impact that I will feel on my daughter’s departure, I want to tell you, from time to time, the reasons that she was selected. These are the reasons that she should go. These are the reasons that this is the right thing to happen. These are the things on which my mind should focus.


My girl was born completely self-sufficient. She has never been needy, she has always been very good company for herself. This is not to say that she is a loner – far from it, she has a wide social group and some very close friends. She enjoys having people over at our place and visiting others. She has just never really needed others to make decisions for her. This photo was taken when she was three. We were on holidays in Cairns with my sister and her husband. Ashleigh has taken herself off to read while we are unpacking and organising things. She probably sat here for a good half hour, just enjoying the Bananas in Pyjamas book. She had no doubt memorised the story by then.

During this year she spent a lot of time with Sussanah. Sussanah was looking after her a couple of days each week while I worked. Sussanah was a uni student, but was also working at the student union. Ashleigh spent a lot of time at the student union offices. Once, in the days before mobile phones, Sussanah had a car problem and was late to pick her up. I was worried that I would be late for work and had no idea where Sussanah was or how long I would have to wait. Ashleigh said, “You just go Mum. I’ll be fine to wait for Sussanah.” I actually looked down at my three year old girl and for a nano-second thought that she would be fine. She has always had such a sensible, centred attitude. I am certain that she would have just calmly read a book while she waited. I didn’t leave her – I would never have done it, but I knew, at that point, that she was more that capable of looking after herself and not frightened of the prospect of doing so.

I know that she will look after herself in France. She will remain centred, she will astound others with her ability to resolve issues alone. She will find ways to entertain herself if she has to. She will be able to find and negotiate medical help, financial issues and practical day to day life.

She will be fine!

Off topic now – a song I’m loving ( and I usually hate the violin).


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12 responses to “Reasons…

  1. h&b


    She will have a BLAST !


  2. Stomper Girl


    She will still miss you and need you. (Always)

    Good to know that independent kids don’t grow out of it, my firstborn has always been like that too.

  3. Molly

    Leaving home is hard. If not on the kids themselves, on their parents. But she will grow so much by living in another country and experiencing another culture. And not least of the benefits will be that she’ll learn to parle francais comme une Parisienne….

  4. Sussanah

    I didn’t look after her – she looked after me!

    And you’ve done a good job, your big bucket of crazy (which of course is fairly similar to my big bucket of crazy) has not spilled out on your children.

  5. Fairlie

    Independence is a great quality to foster in a child. You’ve done well.

  6. Aunty Evil

    Aww, I feel all teary for you. Now you have me missing her as well!

    Good luck to your girl, she is amazing and will represent us more basic Aussies wonderfully.

    She will be the reason the French people of the future will be saying “those Australians, they know how to bring up children, they are wonderful people, those Australians”.

  7. precious pink pumps

    I look forward to hearing reasons two and three and four and beyond. Of course we all know that there are sooooo many reasons why it will be wonderful for Asheigh – and for all her family and extended family and friends. We will all live vicariously through her! I will relive my exchange experience. You now HAVE to go to France. You are responsible (cojointly with Pete) for this independent, clever, beautiful young woman. You can now set her free to discover the world adn create amazing memories for herself and know all the lessons and values you imparted have well and truly become a part of who she is and the good decisions she will make. Well done!

  8. meggie

    I am sure she will fly. It is never easy being a Mum.
    You have obviously equipped her well for the wider world.

  9. h&b

    P.S. – how’s the anon project going ? Any thoughts as yet ?

    ( not.being.bossy.or.pushy.either πŸ˜‰

  10. riseoutofme

    What an exciting time for her! I’m sure she’ll be very happy and then you will be too.

    And then you can start booking YOUR flights and packing YOUR bag …. Exciting!!!

  11. nutmeg

    My oldest is very independent. And I jokingly say now that if she (and her sister) haven’t left the house (my house, that is) by the time they are 18 then I am kicking them out! I know this comment with come back to haunt me because when the time really comes it will be one of the hardest things of all. But if they wish to stretch their wings, I will have to stand back and watch them fly. And oh, what flying your young lady will do Tracey. Be proud. Be very, very proud (and of a course a little wistful and sad). I will send you extra Kleenex when the time comes. And you could also “quilt it out” as well πŸ™‚

  12. Tracey Petersen

    H&B – i know, sigh, i know
    stomper – she has never needed me, but I know she loves me (or else I won’t pay for her to go)
    molly – she’ll grow, she’ll blossom like a fleur
    sussanah – I worked very hard to keep my bucket from splashing them
    fairlie – I love independence in my children
    aunty – I haven’t dared to cry, in case I don’t stop
    jen – those reasons are coming, we will go to France in Dec next year to pick her up and bring her back
    meggie – she needs to equip me with the skills to be without her
    rise – we will visit, I have been wanting to see Paris for a long time
    nutmeg – 18 does not take long to arrive, watch out it sneaks up before you are ready for it

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