Today at 5pm my daughter Courtney is having her awards ceremony commemorating her junior year of school accomplishments. I’ve been to many of these events with both my daughters. But this year feels very different.
Her and I relocated to Charlottesville VA last August (which I need to blog about!). She attended the school back in Michigan along with the friends and family she has known her entire life. Now new school, new state, new city…new friends. The school is small in size but has opened a world to her in ways that every Mother hopes for! For her this has been a year of reinventing herself.
That isn’t why this year feels different to me. She is my youngest and last daughter to complete high school. Thinking back on the last few years of Lindsays days at Lumen Christi High School brings a sweet excitement of memories for me. Preparing her the best I could for graduation and college…it was a new adventure for myself as a Mom. Seeing her excitement was infectious! Those feelings are not the same for me now. I feel a deep feeling of emptiness.
The three of us have a strong bond and my girls are literally my oxygen. Who I am, the beliefs I have, the core of my very soul was modeled from the journey of being their Mom. And now I face the reality of having to let go, again. Her young adult life journey will soon be mapped and I have to open my hands and allow her to take the car keys. I’ll of course have to give her gas money as well!
This is the normal progression of parenting. I realize this and know that I will never lose them. And for all my sadness the excitement and anticipation of their future experiences is double! But as a Mother staring straight into the last year of having my youngest daughter (and friend) home with me leaves me shaken with doubt, fearful of change and cold with loneliness. Strange, I had children when I was young so at this point in my young adult life I could begin to focus on my desires. Now facing head-on to my 24 year old “thought through” plan, the only words that die to escape my lips are ”don’t go!”
I will feel the need to write much more about this topic in the year to come. For now I will continue to guide, support and love her as I always have. However I think the moments will slow down, her laughter will flood me with more happiness, the challenges will allow me to hold her close a little longer and my eyes will photograph more accurately the coming year. I WILL make this year one for us both to remember!
But, for today I will sit with pride and tears watching the awards she no doubt has earned. Being thankful that the tears swelling from all these emotions I envelope will at least clear my contacts from my dehyrated eyes!
Photo taken by Miktess
Our daughters attended private schools. It was an expense we had to work for but in my opinion it was one of merit. While making dinner one evening Lindsay walked into the kitchen, she was in the 4th grade. Very timidly she approached me and said “Mom, the teacher said you need to sign this”. It was a math test that displayed a large red “D” at the top.
Her first bad grade. Holding the paper I began barraging her with the reasons a D was not acceptable….”your father and I are paying for you to attend this school….you are capable of much more than this….dad and I have jobs to provide for this family, your job is work and this grade doesn’t show you are applying yourself…” I handled the situation as my parents would have but I slowly began to notice her head was dropping. I stopped! What was I doing!!?
As her face was pointed to the floor in shame I said “Sweetpea, it doesn’t matter how many D’s you bring home…I will always love you!” Without looking up at me she threw her arms around me crying. What a learning moment for me! Children relate so much of what we do to our depth of love for them. As parents we know in our souls that our love for our children is like breathing! It’s a constant. For our children; their actions, what we say, their choices, how we handle challenges all effect how much we love them.
I learned that day that words are powerful and can drastically change the essence of my daughters reality. Another Taboo Truth!
The moments that define your world can come in a whisper.
I was working on laundry in the basement and Courtney came down looking for a toy. This was a few days after her 7th birthday.
She had received lots of great gifts from relatives. Yet I always keep her most desired present secret for me to buy her. I want my girls to get that special gift from their Mom. The years leading up to this day I had succeeded but this year I did not. Her aunt had gotten her a Furbie. It was a popular yet strange talking creature that was the craze at the time. She loved it!
I was feeling inadequate as she bounced onto the cement floor carrying her Furbie. I asked “you sure love that furry friend”. “It’s my new favorite Mom” she said. “I wish Mommy would have gotten it for you, Mommy always likes to get you your favorite birthday present!” She found the toy she was looking for turned to me and said “but Mom, you did give me the best thing….my life!”
She skipped away leaving me frozen and speechless. I had said those exact words to my Mother on my birthday. I’ve always felt that my life is a true gift. I couldn’t believe a child could have such power of insight. What could give a child so young such strength of “being”? Could I have had some influence?
A Taboo of past parenting…you can learn from your children! Truth!