Recently, my husband and I dropped our daughter off for her first year of college. Since she was born, in my mind, college was a when, not an if. We talked about it , set aside money for it, told her stories of our experiences when we were at college (appropriate ones), the fun she would have, the friends she would make, the worlds that would open up to her. Most of our memories of college were good, and as the time for her to make a decision about where she wanted to go, I began to feel envious of the opportunities that were awaiting her. I also began to feel the inevitable separation that happens between a mother and her child as they enter their teens and begin to pull away as they strengthen their own personalities, likes, desires and needs, separate from us.
During this past year, as I was slowly allowing the truth of our upcoming separation to wash over me, insightful articles and books found their way to me. One especially poignant article titled: Knowing my sons a little less really touched me. I realized that from the minute they are born, from the first moment your child is removed from your sight by another person, you know them a little bit less. They go to day care, preschool, kindergarten. It is significant the first time they come home with a word that you know you did not teach them, an interest or an excitement about something that you know nothing about. Each time you actually know your child a little less because they are experiencing something you are not a part of. This is preparing them to become the individuals they are meant to be.
It’s this day, the day they take their first steps, speak their first words, step onto a bus to go to school for the first time, have a sleepover at a friends’ house, go on their first date, go to their prom, graduate from high school, hug you goodbye in the hall outside of their dorm room as you prepare to leave them at this school of possibilities, their future, their independence, a beacon shining so brightly in their eyes that you are a dim silhouette. All of a sudden, it’s this day.
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