Oh, my heart!
I did something hard today. I let my almost 18 year old daughter go on a 3 day trip. A trip that will take her some 4 hours away. OK, it’s a school trip and there are chaperones. She’s a member of her high school’s culinary team and I am so proud to be her mom!
Her brother has been taking trips with the marching band and indoor drum line groups since middle school. And there have been some long ones, 16-18 hours! (Texas is a BIG place!) But neither one of them have done anything like this!
I want them to have the courage to fly, to do things that challenge them. I want them to be able to take trips like this and know that they can do it alone. Without a parent there to take the lead. I know that it’s important they learn these skills. After all, isn’t that a big part of my job as a parent? To send my kids into the world knowing how to be an adult?
She was so excited last night. Making sure the right clothes were packed. That the new pants we had to buy for the awards assembly “worked with the blouse.” She made sure that she had everything ready to go; she had lists! She was packed and ready to go by 7:00 this morning; even though her ride wasn’t due for another hour. She texted me when she left the house “We’ve left and are going to Starbucks.” I’m glad she didn’t face time me, I was able to respond with a “Thanks!” A friend asked if she got off ok, and I responded to him with a “yes (sob).”
If letting her go for 3 days is this hard, what is it going to be like when she goes away to college in the fall? I had been warned about so many little hurdles that I would have to deal with as my children grew. But letting go? I don’t think anyone ever mentioned how hard it was going to be seeing my chicks leave the nest.
I’ve been there for so many FIRST things. First steps, first words, first day of school. This first, this first trip away, I won’t, I can’t, be there.
How do you do this? How do you let a piece of your heart, get in a car and leave? For 3 days? Almost 4 hours away? Would I feel different if she were, say, going to Grandmother’s house for a long weekend? Most likely the answer would be “Yes.” Grandmother is, after all, family. There’s no family involved in this trip though. There are two great teachers who are chaperoning, but they aren’t family. Her teammates are friends, but that’s not family. There are parts of this trip she will have to navigate on her own. I have to trust that what she’s learned at home so far, what she’s seen in our lives, she is able to put into practice. Without me looking over her shoulder.
She just texted again, “Thanks mom! We’re here and having so much fun!” I didn’t cry, I just asked for a picture.
Today, I took a big step in learning to let go.
Oh, my heart!