Well, here I am again, darn it. It’s Groundhog Day all over again.
I am in the throes of senior year in high school with another child. Where my mind swirls in a million directions. This time, it’s with my first daughter, Caroline. While it’s my second go-around at preparing to watch another one fly the coop, I don’t feel like I’m any more emotionally prepared than the first time.
Sure, I might know what to expect overall, but sending a girl off seems to elicit different emotions than sending a boy off. She’s not a prissy girl (she’s a third-degree blackbelt)…so it’s not like I’m worried about sending a fragile little flower into the world. She’s strong, capable and ready. I just feel like she should still be digging for worms in the backyard and defiantly telling me she won’t wear the $500 bow and beautifully smocked monogram dress I bought for her to wear to church. Ok, so I am exaggerating a tad about the bow and dress being $500. Apparently I’m still bitter.
Since those of you reading this are my blogosphere friends, I’m going to give you a concrete example of how my mind is swirling in a million directions and not landing on the given task at hand. Like getting dressed properly. I was having coffee with a friend recently and felt a weird, soft bulge behind my left knee as I crossed my legs under the table. I had literally no idea what it was (soft cell fast growing tumor?) but scurried to the bathroom to find out.
Well, well. It was a wadded up pair of underwear. Yep. I had been wearing my jeans (which were apparently too tight because the underwear was tightly shoved in there and wasn’t budging) all day. I had been to a lunch meeting with 20 women, and was strutting around clueless that I had an extra pair of underwear stashed away. Since we carry extra lipstick, why not throw an extra pair of underwear in your pant leg?
If you are also doing stuff you normally wouldn’t do because of the craziness of having too much going on, you are not alone. You are probably more normal than me, but you are not alone.
I’m also cluing in to another component I didn’t recognize ahead of time when Jack left…but is hitting me with full force since Caroline is about to kick the exit door wide open.
I will miss her friends as well.
I have always been focused on preparing myself for the time my children are out of the nest. I never really thought about how tough it would also be to say goodbye to their friends as well.
You know what I’m talking about. Friends who have been around for years become like one of your own. You feed them. You pray for them. You laugh with them. You feed them. You know what’s going on in their life. You feed them. You pray you have enough snap to know when you need to leave the kitchen, because sometimes you think you are 18 all over again and just like hanging out with them. But a quick pit stop by the mirror quickly reminds you that you aren’t 18 anymore. And the awkward sideways glance from your own 18-year-old gets the point across loud and clear – just in case your self-awareness is lagging as much as your mature skin.
Logic dictates that the older we get, the more independent we become. We crawl, then we walk. We walk, then we run. I run, then I nap…wait, that’s not how it goes. But you get the point.
Nothing is more exciting for a 16 year old than the independence they (think they) get when they get their driver’s license. Nothing is more terrifying for the parent. But kids are always looking for the next opportunity for independence, aren’t they?
Did anyone have to teach you as a child or your own child to say, “I do it. BY MYSELF!” Human nature craves independence. However, the older I get, the older my children get and the trickier life gets (or as my mom would say: “life gets tedious the older you get”), the more I find myself saying, “I CAN’T do it by myself.” Funny (not funny ha-ha) how it comes full circle.
Just as my children are shredding the apron strings one by one, I am consciously tethering myself to God tighter than ever before. Their burgeoning independence is unearthing my increased dependence. On God, not on myself. Nothing drives that point home more than watching your 18 year old drive away on a college road trip for the first time. Without her dad and me. That takes faith and a lot of prayer.
As I can hear the roaring tide approaching that will catapult my daughter into the second semester of her senior year, I am soberly reminded of how my current job description of parenting is about to change. She won’t belong to me or her dad anymore. She never really did, but I guess I never had to look at it this way before. She will belong to herself. She will be responsible for herself. She will have to make some big, maybe tough decisions in the moment by herself.
And my prayer is that she will work herself out of the habit of saying, “I do it! BY MYSELF!” a lot quicker than I did.
**I’ve added some new items to the website…5 Ingredient Black Bean Soup under Dinner, a couple of items under Things I Love and Banana Bread Cake-Style under Desserts.
I’ve created a Leaving The Light On Facebook page. It won’t have the exact same things that are on this website – think more along the lines of a quick thought/recipe here and there. You can “like” it if you are interested.