“Nope. I’m good.”
I didn’t expect that answer from my daughter.
“But I’m a professional writer. I can help. Even if it’s just to catch a typo or fix a verb tense.”
“I’m good, Dad.”
She had just told me she had finished the essay to accompany her college applications. And she didn't want me to look it over.
These are big stakes. The essay is the opportunity to set herself apart from the other kids who are applying. And her first-choice school has an acceptance rate of about 20%.
A few weeks ago, she had let me know she had decided her essay's subject. Even though I had suggested she bounce ideas off me, she hadn’t.
I didn’t even know what the essay was about.
And now she wasn't going let me read it before she sent it in.
Goddammit. I could offer her an edge.
I was fuming. The stakes were high and she was making a mistake.
I was about to tell her that, when it sunk in (with help from my wife's side-eye) that I was the one about to make the mistake.
Instead, I said, “That’s great news. You must be relieved to have it done.”
She wasn’t telling me she didn’t think my input would help. She was telling me she wanted to own the win or the loss.
I was so very proud of her.
My ego as a writer took a hit, but it was a big win for me as a dad.
A month or so later, she was accepted.
I asked to see her essay.
It was good.
I would've made a few suggestions to tighten it up.
That would’ve been a mistake.
I’m so glad she stopped me from making it.
Did I mention how proud I am of her?