I just finished a heated exchange with my daughter. We’ve been over this ground before. It isn’t easy to let go of a child at any time, but it is worse to say goodbye after an argument.
The same child who would copy everything I ever did, from reading her books with me at night, to having tea with me in the morning (she had her own teacup), to checking with me about where I was and what I was doing, this same child wants me to stop putting up roadblocks every time she wants to go away. She’s an adult.
So let her go.
This morning’s heated exchange began after my daughter declared her intention to drive across Texas for a job interview at a distant city’s school district for a temporary position. I spent some years working in a public school district and know from experience that they are always desperate for warm bodies who know how to read and write, and more so for a body with a college degree in a biology and chemistry.
My thoughts out-loud, which is always a mistake, was “why are you driving clear across Texas on a rainy day to interview with someone desperate to have you in the first place?”
Never speak to the girl-child without a well-thought-out, well-rehearsed, written dissertation beforehand should be posted all over the house for me and me alone. She listens to her father.
This morning she didn’t explode right off. No. It was more of a quick boil and spill-over into – “You don’t want me to ever leave! You want to keep me here in this prison (meaning our house) forever!”
“No,” I said. “I do want you to leave. I’m looking forward to you moving out. We’ll have more room …”
“You want me to go! You don’t want me here?” Tears.
How did that happen?
Ten minutes after she left she called and said something fell off a freeway sign and sheared off her side view mirror. She pulled off the road and examined the spot the mirror had been. Only a chip out of a rubber seal besides the blank spot where the mirror had been. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving. A few inches to the right and whatever took off her mirror would have landed where she was seated.
She made there. Her interview is tomorrow. I have no doubt she will be asked back.
The whole idea of letting a child go, whether the first five steps across the living room at ten months old, the first day of kindergarten, the first solo drive at sixteen, or the first time you drive away leaving your child at college, it doesn’t get easier. It never gets easier.
I’m sorry she and I parted with tears and words we probably didn’t mean to say in such and such a way. But I’m thankful she made it there fine.
A wise woman once told me that worrying has its place but don’t count on the children doing what you expect them to do all of the time. God’s plan for my children will not necessarily be the same as my plan for my children.
And as much as it hurts to say it, I’m thankful my daughter doesn’t need me. I’m thankful that she is a great young lady with a fine brain and a rocking sense of humor. It’s just that I have to keep telling myself to stand back, hands off, let her make her own mistakes, let her fall a few times. She’ll always be my daughter and I’ll always be her mother. That’s all that really matters now, I guess.
And I must be reminded to let go, again.