Last night at dinner we finally had The Conversation.
You know which conversation I mean.
The conversation where we ask Daughter #1 what she plans to do when she flies home to TicTac tomorrow. Stay with the Dysfunctional Boyfriend until the lease is up? Or throw his sorry ass off the balcony? Find a new roommate, preferably one with ovaries this time? Look for a better job? Go to school? Move back home with her dad for a while? Enter the military?
The conversation where David launches into his patented Roth IRA/Preparing For The Future/*If I Had Done This At Your Age I'd Be A Bazillionaire Today* speech.
The conversation where we gently but firmly stick our loving, concerned, affectionate noses into the deepest, darkest, most secret corners of her eighteen-year-old life ... while she squirms uncomfortably over her bleu cheese and almond salad.
(The conversation where we force her to double-dog-swear that "Schmidty" is not in fact going to be the father of my grandchildren.)
Yeah. THAT conversation.
I'm sure she was aware that it was only a matter of time before we ambushed her.
We launched our attack last night over $100 worth of foccacia bread, garlic chicken and iced tea at Skate's on the Bay. Our original plan had been to take her to Emeryville and buy her a badly-needed pair of glasses, and then have dinner somewhere in Berkeley ... but that fell through when we got to Lenscrafters and were informed that the optometrist was gone for the day. So instead we pointed the Subaru in the general direction of the Berkeley Marina.
"Let's go someplace nice," David said.
The conversation was a little slow-going at first. Lots of uneasy silence over bread and iced tea. Lots of furtive looks, back and forth between David and I, during salads. (Say something! No, YOU say something!) Midway through the main course some of the tension finally began to dissipate, and she opened up to our questions a little.
We didn't ask her anything overtly scary.
What do you think you would like to do when you go home? I don't know yet. Is going home to live with dad for a while an option? No. Are you and Schmidty going to stay together? No. [whew] What about college? Maybe. How about looking for a better job, or asking for more hours at the job you have now? I'm already looking. What about moving in with a friend, or looking for a roommate in the newspaper? I'm thinking about it. Will you let us know how we can help you? Yes.
(Can we have the rest of your key lime pie if you're not going to eat it? It's all yours.)
And of course the great unspoken question: If we offered you advice -- if we were to say, Jaymi, here's what *we* think you should do -- would you take our advice?
And her unspoken reply: Probably not.
Would *I* have listened to advice from my mother -- or from anyone else, for that matter -- when I was Jaymi's age?