“Good morning my mom! First day of school!”
That was the first text I receive from my daughter this morning.
Every emotion ran through me. Why didn’t she tell me when her first day was when I asked last week? How can it be her first day?! We didn’t go shopping for supplies or clothes. I didn’t even know it was here!
Making the move from childrearing mother to mother of an adult child is an incredibly difficult transition that I feel isn’t discussed often enough.
If we’re fortunate, we spend 18 years of our lives doing everything for this tiny being we gave life to. We feed them, clothe them, and take care of every illness and problem they have.
Eventually, as they grow they become a bit more independent. We step back and watch as they stumble and fall but are there to catch them at any time. I bet everyone reading this can remember one of the first times they fell and got a big ouchie, or the first time they returned from school, eyes filled with tears, asking for assistance navigating the emotions of losing their first friend.
Then, just like that, they’re adults.
They move away from you. They’re gone for days or weeks at a time doing….. Who knows what?! You spend time wondering if you’re being too overbearing. If you’ve waited long enough for them to make first contact before you do. Whether you’re not contacting them enough and they feel like you’re abandoning them.
All of the things you spend your years thinking about doesn’t stop just because their age clicked to the next number. I find myself wondering if she’s remembering to take her meds. How is she supposed to sign up for school without me? I’ve always been the one to do these things. What if she forgets to include her medical information? Is she going to be able to handle the pressure of working, school, and taking care of herself?!
You hope and pray that they’re making healthy decisions. That they remember the talks you had about peer pressure and making the right choices when substances are pushed on them. That, God forbid *it* happens and she remembers safe sex regardless. You remember all the lessons along the way, guiding them through tough choices. All you can do is let go.
This sentence is one of the shortest in the English language and is somehow one of the hardest. How does one “let go” of all the worries, societal and self-expectations, and years of doing nothing but caring for them?
I guess it’ll be just like the rest of parenting.
We’ll fake it until we make it and remind ourselves that we’ve reached the final goal and it’s time to let them shine. Trust that you have done everything in your power to provide them with the knowledge to become a productive member of society and cherish every moment they wish to include you in.
That’s all for now. I’m going to call and see how her first day of college went.
Until next time. Remember, you’re doing a great job.