My oldest daughter is about to turn sixteen next month. I’m both excited and terrified.
The other day, I was sharing with her about getting my first job at sixteen. She is interested in getting one as well. Mine was at Fazoli’s making a whopping $1 over the minimum wage, totaling out at a high dollar amount of $6.25 per hour – ha! That was so impressive and exciting for me then. My own independence, gas in the tank, money to blow. Though, working in the food industry (which she wants to do) is rough. I don’t quite think she realizes that yet.
I shared with her some of the food service norms – the variety of people you’ll work with, the variety of pleasant and very unpleasant customers, the standing, the cleaning. The creeps.
There are creeps everywhere but when teens get their first job, I think folks prey on them and I’m scared of that. I hope wherever she works has good, helpful adults and a large peer group of kids her age to work with. Not the guy I worked with at Fazoli’s that was the same age as my father, and used to take the trash out with me to share cigarettes and flirt. Not the manager I quit over because she was trying to force me to date a boy that worked there – and then she ended up pregnant years later by another teen boy that worked for her (her husband was NOT happy).
I walked out of that job one day. Oh, the thrill and freedom of that moment! Being a teenager is such a wild ride in so many ways that I do not miss, but that feeling of absolute freedom in those moments is a thing I do miss.
Anyway, I’m worried about my baby growing up. I don’t want her to go out into the scary world without me, but I know it’s inevitable. I just hope she is safe and happy, no matter how far from me she is.