Friday, March 21, 2008

Our Children - Another Al-Ateen Meeting

Last time we spoke about Al-Ateen was several weeks ago. My daughter is ten (10) if you recall. My concern was that she may be too young. On the advice of my therapist and the advice of the rehab's therapists - and a few others at Al-Anon, we went (acutally - I took her and she went).

Last night was our daughter's third meeting. She went in the meeting a little agitated. She is wearing an boot/brace on her foot because of a badly sprained ankle. The brace is difficult to put on. She had taken it off so Daddy (moi) and daughter could go to dinner (a fast food chicken place).

The agitation turned to her not wanting my help and that she could put it on. She went into Al-Ateen not the happiest of campers with me, the boot or probably life [Note to self: she said her life rots this past weekend. Rots. Hmmmm Didn't know they still used that word. It might be coming back. File that one away. I may become cool again. Not that I was ever cool, but maybe I'll get a second chance!]

Before the meeting - I hugged her and told her I loved her, and that I apologized for trying to help her my way. I said, "Next time I will ask you if and how you want me to help you." She hugged me too saying I love you. She said, "You can go now Daddy." She is kind of funny in that she wants to walk in that door by herself.

An Introduction
After Al-Ateen I met her outside, I introduced her to a man who had two sons in the same meeting. He is a really nice man that I sat next to during the Al-Anon Meeting going on at the same time as the Al-Ateen meeting.

While I was introducing him to her, my daughter stuck out her hand to shake his hand and told him her name. I watched this occur with great interest. She knew to extend her hand.

The Heist
After that she needed to use the bathroom - so we went back inside where there was a "Birthday" (someone was celebrating 15 years at Al-Anon). My little girl wanted me to heist a piece of cake. So of course like any good father, I did. We got out with the one with the most icing. She hobbled and I steadied her and the plate of cake, laughing and looking over our shoulders to see if there were any screaming Al-Anoners trying to get their plastic fork, paper plate or cake with the most icing back. Fortunately, we escaped. We laughed in the car when we got in.

When we drove off she was laughing and talking how she rated the week. She volunteered the discussion - no prodding from me. She rated it a .5 on a scale of 1-10. Then she said she came back and revised the Saturday night. And rated it a 9.5 out of 10. She laughing and told me another girl was saying that was a very high rating. I asked, "Why so high?" She replied it was "Father-Daughter Dance." Now that sounds self-serving as I type this. It may appear that I am trying to place myself in the best of lights. But the Father-Daughter dance is where the men/fathers stand around in groups talking to each other and the girls do hoola-hoop contest and line dancing and run around eating pizza etc. Every once in a while I was able to sneak in and dance and show my daughter my "moves." My moves consist of what I recall used to be a cool dance. My recall is not very good about the dancing parts of my life and therefore - apparently - my moves probably mirrored the guy, Albert Brennaman, from the movie "Hitch." My daughter pushed me off the dance floor at one point, laughing. I was, I believe, the only father pushed off the dance floor. Hey, but at least I made it to the dance floor!

Anyway, back to Al-Ateen. When we got home she was still very excited and she rated that day - last night a 40 out of 10. A 40? I asked. "Yes," she said, "I really had a great time talking. And I really like this other girl, she is so funny." [Added later this morning - she has bonded with this other girl. One of the supervisors said that the children in these programs "bond" quickly. I can now attest to this.]

Last night I went to sleep in a great mood knowing this (her happiness and how she was SOOO excited. She even screamed out the door, "I am happy world!"). I am thankful and I am grateful. Thank you HP and friend who "advised" me to take her to Al-Ateen. And the man and woman who "oversee" the meeting.

File This In the Weird or In Tune Category
PS - A funny thing how Al-Anon works or life in general. In tune with the Infinite. On the way to the meeting - as we were driving, I wondered if Al-Ateen had sponsors like Al-Anon. At my Al-Anon meeting - while the Al-Ateen meeting was occuring, a woman who did the "set-up" read three (3) passages from the red Al-Ateen book - on - guess? It was on: Sponsorship in Al-Ateen. Weird.


Syd said...

It sounds like a great evening. And it sounds as if you have a wonderful daughter. I can read how much you treasure her. It's good that she likes Al-Ateen and seems to enjoy it. And I like her rating system. No point in coloring within the lines all the time.

Anonymous said...

As a BRAND NEW sponsor to Alateen, I'm SO happy to hear that the Alateen meetings matter!!! They matter to Kathryn, they matter to my daughters as well. We had no idea how much "rating your week" means to the kids, but have heard it again and again that they enjoy this part of our meetings. YAY, Go God!