In a few short days my world will change. My oldest daughter will be moving out on her own — beginning a new phase of her young life. I can’t help but be glad for her as she revels in happy anticipation of her new independence — proof (to her) of adulthood. I am excited for her as I see her planning, making lists of things she must do, necessities she must purchase and deciding what she will take with her and what she will leave behind.
I am happy for her. I am.
But, along with that happiness, I feel a twinge of sadness. A feeling — a kind of an ache — a sort of loneliness that comes with knowing that our lives are about to change in a momentous way. I close my eyes and I see a film reel replaying the sweet, sweet moments of her presence in my life. All the joyous, laughter-filled days, the Christmases, birthdays, and family celebrations. All the tears, fears, lost kittens and broken toys. All the sticky fingers, runny noses and scraped knees. The memories flash through my mind, from the glorious day of her birth, all her schooldays, to the first time a boy broke her heart, to this very moment. I feel my heart wrench.
A momentary sense of panic hits me — did I prepare her enough for the struggles, the business of living a life? Did I teach her all I could, did I shelter her too much, does she have all the tools and skills she needs to succeed on her own? Did I do enough? The song “Sunrise, Sunset”, from Fiddler on the Roof, has been playing in my head for weeks now. I cry when she’s not looking.
God, I am going to miss her! I am going to miss her grumpy smile in the morning and her silly antics that entertain and yes, sometimes annoy. I am going to miss not being right there to comfort her when things are not going well, enveloping her in my arms and hugging her tight until the tears stop. I am going to miss not being right there to celebrate her successes, hugging her and beaming with pride. I am going to miss her twinkling laugh and her funny jokes. I am going to miss staying up late and talking, watching chick flicks and reality tv, snuggled close together, giggling and telling secrets. I am going to miss her.
And yet, I have a sense of liberation, a feeling that I, too, am growing. The ties of mothering have loosened and all but fallen to the wayside — my job is done. I have to trust that she is ready, as ready as any “child” who is venturing out into the world on their own for the first time. I am trying to find my place in this new stage of her life — what is my new role? Confidant? Mentor? Friend? Whatever our relationship grows into, it will be okay, it will be different, it will be good.
My daughter has grown into a beautiful, young woman — a wonderful person with a bright, shining future unfolding before her. I am very proud of her. I see in her: strength, intelligence, a sense of humour, integrity and a loving heart and I know that she will be fine. She will be happy and successful as she makes her own way in the world. My love for her fills my heart. My job is done.
I will miss her.