How to describe the paradox of joy and grief a mother feels while letting her child go out into the world on their own?
Two weeks ago my daughter moved into her first apartment with her girlfriend. We’ve been living apart for three months, but her future still had a question mark until the apartment was secured. Now she’s signed a six month lease in the San Francisco Bay Area and will be attending Aveda in a few weeks.
Letting my son go was different. While we were close and connected, we aren’t great friends the way she and I have become. Whether it’s because she’s a girl and/or similarities in our personalities and/or because I was emotionally healthier while raising her, she and I have something special that I anticipate will grow richer as she grows into herself. She’s also the last child I’m committed to full time parenting. My role as a mother is changing in every way.
Also, my son had the security of a full ride scholarship to college. I had no worries about whether he could pay for a place to live or food in his belly for the first four years of his adulthood. But she is risking it all for love – love for her girlfriend and love for her dream to become a make-up designer in a city that feels right to her. She’s taking loans for school and to give herself a financial foundation to build from with a job. I am proud she is following her heart and a little worried things won’t work out. I know how unpredictable life is and I don’t want her to be disappointed.
She’s bold and courageous…and she’s afraid and overwhelmed by “adulting.” Who can blame her? I still get overwhelmed by adulting, too. I imagine everyone does. All the things to remember and the responsibilities we have to meet for ourselves and whomever we join our lives to.
I am proud of her…and I want to keep taking care of her. I know the independence is good for us both…and I miss my girl being a part of my daily life.
They are mine and not mine. My children, a piece of myself, and their own persons. The world will have it’s way with them. All I can do is keep loving them and supporting them in whatever ways are healthy and possible with young adults who are hundreds or thousands of miles away.