It should be a sign I’ve done well, but I’m not ready for this.
Every single parent, whether they admit it or not, silently and secretly wishes, at some point, for the day that their kid is just a little bit older. More independent. More able to handle things on their own. Things like homework, sports, friend drama.
These thoughts come to us when we’re tired and frustrated and we can’t fully grasp the concept of Common Core math.
We’ve all sat there making decorations for the Valentine's Day box, kind of embarrassed that our kid has to pass out the lame Valentine’s because all the on top of it moms who didn’t have two night meetings this week already got the good ones and now the store is sold out of them.
We raise our kids to handle whatever life throws at them with dignity, grace, intelligence, and empathy. We train them for it. Then one day it happens. They take all that learning and they apply it to life.
I should take pride in the fact that I have raised a smart, capable, independent daughter who doesn’t need to come to me for advice or help all the time. I don’t wish drama in her life so we have something to solve. But I miss the days when she did need me.
Tonight, she headed out to a friend’s house, taking the car keys with her. Another thing I secretly, or not so secretly wished for. Please God, let her get her driver’s license so I don’t have to be a mom Uber and can sit on the couch with a glass of wine on a Friday evening after the longest work week ever.
With the license came mobility and with mobility came freedom. That freedom means she is a little less beholden to me to get from Point A to Point B.
When she drives off, I don’t worry. She’ll be fine.
I have a few years left with her in the house. This beautiful girl who once drove me crazy with the sounds of Disney shows with singing teenagers will head off to college in two years and the heavy lifting will be done.
I never thought I would be the kind of parent that dreads having an empty nest but here I am. I think all of us are that kind of parent whether we realize it or not or want to be or not. It just is. We can’t help it.
I know from watching my boyfriend whose sons, 18 and 22, have moved in with him, that they don’t stay gone long. Our kids will always need us. But, part of me wants her to need me now.
It’s this weird in-between that’s become a struggle as if I’m going through my own awkward phase as a parent. The kind where I’m still a mom but don’t really feel like it.
I’m the lady who continually harps on her for not doing the dishes. Nagging her about chores doesn’t feel like wholehearted parenting.
For years, it’s been just us against the world. We fought together. School bullies. Bad teachers. She’s now in a place where she fights her own fights. Stands up for herself. She doesn’t need me to do it for her.
When I see her confidently tackle what life throws at her, I’m proud. When she tells me that her dad gets frustrated with her because she’s just like me, we laugh. When we say the same thing at the same time, I know. I know she’s mine and always will be. I just wish I had a little more time with her being little.