Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Wild Child

My Wild Child came home for the weekend, bringing her camera with her and asking me to download her photos. She lives in the Tahoe area and has enjoyed a wonderful winter of snowboarding. Although the snow hasn't been as heavy as they would have liked AND it arrived late this year, she was finally able to take advantage of one of the ski resorts and get her share of time in on the slopes. Unfortunately, last year she didn't have a snowboard, but I'll tell you a little bit about that later.

For her birthday in February, her boyfriend took her on a drive south to the Mono Lake area. They did some hiking and relaxed in pools fed by natural springs. I think she does pretty well with photography, particularly given the fact that she has a fairly inexpensive camera. We had given her the camera for Christmas; my husband had picked it up through his work in connection with a manufacturer's promotion. I'd love to see what she could go with a better camera, but I'm afraid she'd lose it. She's gone through two cell phones in the past year: the last one was lost somewhere in a snowbank and the one before that ended up at the bottom of Lake Tahoe. The photos below were taken on that trip. I won't share with you the photo of her topless in the natural springs. Or the one of her mooning the camera on a snow-covered slope. She says she thinks that one would make a good Christmas card. I just hope grandma's not on her Christmas list!

We've been keeping a close eye on this boyfriend, and so far, so good. He's about ten years older than she is, and although he's definitely the adventurous type, he seems to take good care of her and treats her well. Quite a change from the Boy From Hell who brought her to Tahoe in the first place. I think she started seeing him on the rebound from the boyfriend before that. I'll go back a little, so it makes some sense.

When she was a sophomore in high school, the Wild Child began seeing Justin. They spent most of their time together except when she was working as a waitress at an ice cream parlor and when Justin was working in his dad's motorcycle shop or off with his buddies, messing around with cars. The Wild Child is a very emotional being and their relationship was very tumultuous; she's not one to suffer in silence. Over the years, they broke up several times but always got back together again. Two weeks before my daughter's 21st birthday, Justin lost control of his motorcycle, hit a tree, and died. It was particularly traumatic for my daughter; they were broken up at the time, although she and the rest of us thought they would resolve their differences and resume the relationship eventually. Now that would never happen.

Within four or five months of Justin's death, the Wild Child met the Boy from Hell. Although this kid seemed very nice and respectful, over the course of time, we learned he was anything but. In November of that year, he and my daughter moved to Tahoe where he had grown up. We later learned that he had a problem with drugs and alcohol, although we--and she--didn't realize it at the time. My daughter has always been good about managing and saving her money, and when they moved to Tahoe, she bought a new-to-her 4WD SUV. She still needed a few things to set up housekeeping, but with our help and a few cast-offs, she was able to furnish a small, one-room cottage. She got a job waitressing at a nearby casino, and things were going fairly well. The BFH got a job at the same casino but lost the job after two weeks. Because he didn't have a car, he would use hers, driving her to and from work. Before long, there were several times when he failed to pick her up after work, and my daughter was forced to get a ride from a friend or walk home late, late at night. Eventually they began arguing, and one night, he stranded her at work again. When she got home, she found he had taken all of her things--TV, snowboard, cell phone, car, and anything else he could carry. Some of the things were sold by him--including her snowboard--and some she was able to recover. A month or so later, he persuaded her to take him back. I guess we're all gullible at some point in our lives, and this was her time. Within weeks, the same behavior occured again. This time, not only did he take her things, but he spun out in the snow, scraping her SUV over rocks and boulders and abandoning the car on the highway. By now, he was driving without a license, so he fled the scene. Then he called her at work and told her where she could find her car. The car had to be towed and was not driveable. Through an insurance snafu, it was uninsured as well. It took my daughter a year to save up the money necessary for the repairs and to put her life back in order, but I think she learned a valuable lesson. I know this boy has tried several times to convince her to take him back but she's not buying it. One of his most memorable attempts was when he told her his father had been decapitated in an automobile accident and he had inherited half his father's business and his house in the Santa Cruz area. The Wild Child was less than impressed and told him that money had nothing to do with why they weren't together. A few weeks later, the boy's father called, looking for his son--this is the guy who was presumably decapitated. Oh, did that provide endless material for jokes! The Wild Child has a wonderful wit and a dry delivery. And at least she can laugh about it now.

In any event, this BFH is now out of her life and she's moved on. Both she and her current boyfriend are hesitant to commit to any long term relationships; apparently he's also had his share of unfortunate experiences. But they seem good for each other for the time being.

It was nice to have the Wild Child at home. There were times over the last few years when I hoped she would move back, but she insisted on standing on her own two feet and rebuilding her life. For the past year, she's been talking about saving up money to travel around the country with her dog, Rocky, beginning sometime in 2009. This child is the one who turns my hair gray, but she's also the one who's doing the kind of things that I didn't have the courage to do back in the 70s when I was her age. Yes, she's wild and I worry about her, but I love her and admire many things about her too.

I still owe you all one more thing you didn't know about me, and that's coming soon--I didn't want you to think I had forgotten!


Rosy said...

My sympathy to you! I too know the anx's of having a wild child. She is on hubby #3,whom we have thought to be a live-in!

Patti said...

Oh my - why mothers turn gray!!!! She certainly does take nice pictures. I hope she had insurance for the cell phones! Then again I guess they were probably the least of her worries.

Michelle said...

Wow. What an experience! You deserve every gray hair that she has given you!