My oldest daughter has always been old. Her graduating from high school and moving away to college was easy for me because I felt as though the natural progression of life was catching up to where she had always been.
I was a stay-at-home mom during the first two years of her life. The first time I spent any significant amount of time away from her, I went on a weekend trip to Austin. About 30 minutes into the drive out of town, I made my husband turn around. I was attached to one end of a rubber band and she to the other. And the band stretched as far as it could. So we went back, and I got one last hug. I was better after that and was able to leave her in the care of someone else for two days.
Today was easy. I watched her cross the stage. I watched her become a former student. A few people cried, but I didn’t. She was moving forward like she had always been doing.
But hang on. Wait. Just, just wait.
She’s a college graduate and has a grown-up job and is being interviewed by a school on Monday for entrance into a BSN program. We aren’t paying her rent anymore. We won’t be paying for her school or food or anything anymore. She’s officially on her own.
Ironic, since she’s suddenly two years old again. And I’ve driven away, leaving her in the care of the world, leaving her to care for the world. And I can’t turn back this time. Today the rubber band snapped, and I can’t drive back.
And she’s not crying for me anymore.
So this is what letting go feels like.