In Which Mrs. Spit Takes a Deep Breath

And reminds herself that young people learn responsibility by being given it.

I was about to go to bed tonight, when I looked out the window and saw TGND and her friends sitting on the back porch, in the blazing light from motion lights, chattering away, at quarter to midnight.

Everyone is over for TGND's birthday. Her 16th.

And her mum has been a bit baggish about the whole thing, and I saw these girls, and I took a deep gulp and I walked out on to my back deck, and I offered them my fire pit, if they promised not to burn the house down.

And they agreed that would be wonderful, and informed the neighbour mother, and headed over. I handed out blankets, and chairs, and got the fire started. (Not a single young woman present knew how to start a fire. Not one. What is this generation coming to, I ask you?)

I asked for one person to be appointed to be in charge of the fire, told them all where the water was, defined what a too large a fire meant, and the consequences of not putting the fire completely out, and then dear readers, I walked back up the stairs to my deck, across the deck, through the back door, and I shut the door behind me.

(and that took courage)

I didn't use the lack of ability to start a fire as a teachable moment, not did I lecture on the need to be independent. I didn't lecture on not leaving the back yard, or not getting into the flower beds, or not shrieking or running around, or calling down aliens. And I'm telling you, not using the teachable moment darn near killed me.

And as I type this, there is a medium sized fire burning in the fire pit, and 5 young women chattering around the fire pit. No one would appear to be on fire, no one is drinking, and nothing untoward is happening.

And I will hope they remember a summer night, curled up in blankets, around a fire. I hope it's just a tiny bit more magical.

I'm going to go to bed in just a few minutes, and before I do I will once again ponder how remarkable TGND is, on the eve of being a woman. And I will smile at her friends, who tease her, and clearly love her, and I will be thankful that I get to be her neighbour.