Like most young moms, I used to worry when my little ones walked around the corner to their friends' houses. Then it was the bike riding concern. Before I knew it they were behind the wheel of a car and as my husband jumped forward shouting, "Be Careful!" on my daughter's 17th birthday as she backed out of the driveway, I came to realize that for the rest of my parenting days I would be partaking in the lesson of letting go.
Fast forward 21 years and my firstborn is airborne almost every weekend this semester. It is not uncommon for me to wake at 6:30 am to that ever famous text message: 'Just Landed'. Although I have never asked her to, I suppose there is an ingrained training that compels her to notify me when she has landed. I get it; at 50, I still do the same with my mom.
I have never been a particularly nervous mother. I took my mother's ever-famous advise of giving my kids 'enough rope to hang themselves'. People ask me if I am nervous with my daughter traveling so much. Many of my friends pace and hold their breath every time their kids fly. I have to be honest, at this point I am so used to her travels that most times I am unaware of her flight times until she has landed.
Giving my daughter the gift of a semester abroad has been a gift back to me. Through the upside of technology she has been able to share so many of her travel experiences. Her blog
has given us the chance to hear the nuances of her daily life in Sevilla and the details of her side travels.
The other day I came out of a meeting to a photo of the Eiffel Tower on my blackberry. Yesterday morning it was the Gaudi architecture in Barcelona. She was even able to complain in realtime when in the dressing room at H&M in Barcelona about how nothing fit right and she was getting frustrated with shopping. (ok, perhaps the Eiffel Tower shot was a bit more exciting). It really is a small world!
The funny thing about having a kid out there exploring the world and spreading her wings is that you find out just how close you have become when they are so far away. In essence, by letting go I have found that she is still so grounded in our family that she chooses to share instead of doing so out of obligation.
That age-old corny 'if you love something, let it go' saying really has some truth to it!