Those natural consequences

Last year Lauren and I had lots of run-ins about things. Things she felt entitled to own, things we either couldn't afford or couldn't justify.  Every "no" was received like we were denying water to the thirsty.  Or stingily holding back oxygen.

On one level, Greg and I both understood how she felt.  We both remember those desperate teenage feelings, the conviction that this one thing will change my life, my status, my very self.  (For me, it meant "borrowing" sweaters from my dad's closet even though I knew he'd be angry; G remembers throwing a fit in a shoe store [not as a teenager though] when he couldn't get the cool shoes).  But still.  The constant hunger for the next thing, coupled with a sense of entitlement and lack of gratitude, was driving me crazy and coloring many of our interactions.  Oy.

So at the end of the summer, we introduced a new plan, Lauren's New Deal.  We would pay Lauren a fairly nice monthly sum of money (not that much, not too little) but she would be responsible for purchasing her own things.  We would cover food and lessons and essentials but she would buy the extras: clothes, social activities, texting charges, clothes, little incidentals.  She could fritter it away on little things or save it over time for big things.  It's up to you, darlin'.

Exhibit A: See her cell phone up there?  It's taken a beating (an outright understatement). She's dropped it (multiple times), put it through some heavy conversing and texting, left it where Louie could try his chops on it, even lost it a couple of times.  It's not pretty but it still works. Since replacing it would come out of her funds (and when weighed against a new dress for the semi-formal or a new ipod or jeans)--she doesn't feel the desperate urgency to get a new one.   It makes me laugh every time I see it.  And proud.  

The unexpectedly hardest part for me is letting her live with the consequences of her choices without swooping in and saving her, supermom with amazing + heroic spending powers.  At this very moment, she has no jeans that fit.  None.  They are all high-waters, bless her heart and growing limbs.  She has spent her funds on lunches out with friends, shirts, gifts for friends. Doo-dahs, forgetting her one real need: new pants. This is the hard lesson, the one that I desperately want to soften.  But softening it would only undo the learning, right?

So I keep my unhelpful rescue superpowers to myself, letting life teach her a few lessons while she's safely nestled under our rafters.  Unless there's such a thing as the outgrown jeans fairy?  

I guess not.