Tough Broads

11 10 2015

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Ever since my daughter, Jade, was a little girl and we both had to use a squat potty on a trip to visit her dad’s family in Malaysia, we’ve jokingly called each other tough broads.

It expanded during her Girl Scout years when we named a rainy weekend camping trip, the Tough Broad Campout. Whenever we said this, it was followed by pounding on our chest, then a thumbs up saying, YOU ROCK.

This past summer, my baby girl moved to Chicago to follow her dreams of maybe, someday, becoming a comedy writer. My sweetie and I u-hauled her stuff up North (meaning Steve did all the driving and heavy lifting). We spent a few days visiting my only child in the windy city, 1000 miles away. I have always supported her move, but have had my motherly concerns.

Me and my millennial at Chicago's Millennium Park

Me and my millennial at Chicago’s Millennium Park

I was concerned about where she lived. She has a teeny, tiny, expensive bedroom with a “kitchen” which is called a studio apartment in the big city. But she did her research and she was right. Lakeview is a great neighborhood; full of people her age, full of beautiful homes and full-sized apartments. While rent may be high by Baton Rouge standards, it’s good for the area she’s living in. I’m relieved she’s not in a bigger, cheaper place in an edgier part of town.

I was concerned about comedy being a pipe dream. Part of me wants her to get a “real” job with real benefits. But again she’s done her research and is well into classes with The IO Theater, a comedy company with a serious lineage. This is her graduate school and it took this trip for me to see it that way. No matter what her career eventually evolves into, she’ll be able to use what she’s learning.

I was concerned about her getting stuck waiting tables. She’s working at an upscale Irish pub, Wilde, a short walking distance from her place. She was right when she said it was a good place to work. The food and drink are great. But more importantly it’s well run and the staff is warm and welcoming. This job allows her to pursue her passion, to pay all her bills and even have a bit extra at the end of the month.

I was concerned about her being so far from family and friends. On my last night in the city, I went with her to see one of her friend’s perform on a small stage in a basement venue. The crowd was small, but Jade’s new friends were all cheering for their friend on stage. Most of these new friends were from Baton Rouge, connected by old friendships. I realize while Jade is embracing all things new and different, she has found a supportive, understanding family with her new tribe. A tribe who understands the importance of Mardi Gras and following your dreams.

Winter is coming

Winter is coming

I was concerned about the upcoming winter. The Chicago winter continues to be the main subject that everyone from Baton Rouge friends to Chicago Uber drivers issue dire warnings about. It is something we talked about when she began to consider moving. I agreed with Jade when she said, if she hated it or couldn’t take the cold, then she could move somewhere warmer. But the real tragedy would be to not go out of fear of really cold weather.

I was concerned about a lot of things. However reconnecting with my daughter after five months apart wasn’t one of them. We both find the name of a main Chicago thoroughfare, Wacker, hilarious. And the possibility of her working through the holidays makes us both weepy. We both loved walking the Chicago tree-lined streets; people watching, being a tourist in a great city and meeting new people. We loved telling our stories to others and making my sweetie listen to them over and over.

My baby girl is a tough broad. And I guess I am too, because I let her go. I’m beating my chest and giving her a thumbs up ’cause YOU ROCK.

___________________

SteveAnother huge YOU ROCK to my sweetie, he made the trip possible for these two tough broads.

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24 responses

12 10 2015
Juanita McGregor

Hey lady, YOU ROCK! Loved the story and LOVED that you trust her roots enough to know they wills support her while checking it all out. Then, in person, embracing her dream with your laughter and pride and love. Dreams that are nurtured by the whole tribe thrive best. S
omeone told me the other day what a lovely girl Jade is…I look forward to meeting her one day.

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

Thanks Juanita, Jade is lovely and I do hope you meet her one day soon. And maybe someday when she’s rich and famous you can say, I know her momma.

12 10 2015
leannelc

It’s so hard to let our kids go and find their own path – especially daughters! So glad she has found her feet and you can see that she’s making good choices – it shows she has been parented well and is building on those foundations. I hope the distance isn’t too much of a stumbling block to seeing her regularly.

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

Fortunately Southwest has a direct flight from from New Orleans to Chicago!

12 10 2015
Haralee

I wish your daughter the best. Sure she will freeze this winter but she is young and following her dream and can buy cold weather clothes. A friend who lived in Siberia for 2 years says with todays fabric technology the only reason to be cold is by making a poor clothing choice!

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

She’s got a good coat, boots and gloves. She’s less than 1/2 mile from work and the bus stop is in front of her apt. I will visit her again in the spring.

12 10 2015
Sharon Greenthal

I’m sure your daughter is going to thrive and succeed, but I, like you, will always think of my daughter as my little girl!

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

Sharon, yes, they’ll always be our baby girls.

12 10 2015
kimtb

My daughter moved from California to Chicago a few years ago, and is studying architecture there. She also lived in Lakeview (also in a very small place!). The winters are brutal, and I’ve bought her more than a few coats and lots of long undies…but the opportunities are phenomenal. And the spring and fall…spectacular! Congrats to both of you!

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

We took the architecture boat tour. It is a spectacular city. She is loving it.

12 10 2015
Lisa Garon Froman

Oh this makes my heart soooo happy!

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

Lisa, it’s now time for wine!

12 10 2015
Bonnie K. Frogma

Good for you for not pushing her towards the standard-job route. I grew up in a very practical sort of family (“if work was fun they wouldn’t call it work” was one thing I heard a lot) and although I’m a pretty creative type – love painting and drawing and was actually a drama major at college, although it was a liberal arts college so you didn’t get too specialized – but somehow none of those ever struck me as Actual Ways That People Earn Livings.

Everything actually worked out fine for me, I ended up having a Very Practical Job (finance analyst) but in a creative field, so I kinda get the best of both worlds – I get to work with an awesome crew of creative people in a great atmosphere, Istill do art and writing and these days picture-taking plus of course boating boating boating for fun, and the practical job supports all of that nicely – but I’m always kind of laughing ruefully when I walk through our art department full of artists doing art for a living and think about how somehow when I was a kid, I genuinely never “got” that that was an option. Young people who DO get that are fortunate!

And winter can definitely suck (says the person from Hawaii now living in NYC) but it’s also got its ooh-ahh moments and the rest of the time you just get used to dealing with it. Like kimtb mentions, it’s all about having the right clothing for it – dress right & she’ll be fine!

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

Her father and I are both graphic designers, so she’s got the creative gene. I know her career path will take a meandering route. But I’m not worried about her, she’s doing fine.

13 10 2015
Bonnie K. Frogma

very very cool!

13 10 2015
conniemcleod

Thank you.

12 10 2015
CaptCruncher

Oh letting go is so hard but it sure sounds like your daughter carries bits of you on her journey and that my friend, is worth its weight in gold! I would love to be the fly on the wall as she blesses the hearts of all she encounters :)! Your perspective just makes me smile Connie!

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

I don’t remember why we said it, but I know we told someone, “in the south, that’s what we call a Bless your Heart!” LOL

12 10 2015
Pat

Great post, Connie. You voice the concerns of every mom, and yet you had the courage to let her fly in search of her own dreams. Windy City winters can be brutal, but it sounds like your daughter’s warm heart will keep from freezing. She’ll just bundle up and brave it, like the Chicagoans.

12 10 2015
conniemcleod

Yes, she’ll be fine, she’s a tough broad!

13 10 2015
Kathy

I’m smiling from ear to ear!!! Kathy

13 10 2015
conniemcleod

Hugs!

15 10 2015
Kimberly Crespo

Love this Connie!
\

Kimberly Crespo| Senior Director, Corporate Accounts | Emprint/Moran Printing, Inc.
5425 Florida Boulevard | Baton Rouge, LA 70806 | Ph: 225.923.2550 X: 3030 | Fx: 225.923.1078 | Tf: 800.211.8335 | kim@emprint.com | http://www.emprint.com

“At Emprint, We make our mark by helping our clients make theirs.”

15 10 2015
conniemcleod

You’re a tough broad too!!

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