Nothing makes a parent’s heart melt quite like their baby’s first, tottering steps into the safety of their loving arms. Enjoy those moments, because as soon as your kids master walking, they start to run – away from you.
When they are babies, we are our children’s entire world. Then the tentative steps of the toddler lead them to the wonderful, terrifying discovery that the world is much bigger than just Mommy and Daddy. How much bigger dawns on them when they step into the great unknown of their first classroom. Life moves forward in leaps and bounds once school starts and your baby’s feet are firmly set on the path of their own destiny.
Time is a juggernaut gaining speed at an alarming rate – junior high, high school, college; up, up and out.
Our 24-year-old daughter, Liz, left for a new job in California 12 days ago, on Mother’s Day. It’s a wonderful opportunity with a company she loves. She’s thrilled and we are excited for her. Yet I realize with a sinking feeling that she is now more than half this big, wide continent away from me. And it’s not the try-it-on-for-size, I’ll-be-back-home-in-a-couple-of-months move of young adulthood, but the bubble-wrap-the-wine-glasses and call-the-movers move that means it’s for realz.
Our 22-year-old baby, Gwen, graduated from college 5 days ago. She’s still deciding what her next step will be, but she’s bound and determined that whatever it is, it won’t involve taking up residence in her old bedroom at home.
My first blog post was about the pain of Gwen leaving for school, and now that leg of her life’s journey is over. How can that be? She was a 4-year-old traveling in her cardboard box time machine barely a day ago. Last summer I lamented as I put her on a plane to England for a semester abroad. Now she’s talking about getting a job playing the drums on a cruise ship. Good God, what’s next? Will I be waving goodbye tomorrow as she boards the space shuttle?
My husband and I have raised two girls into young women who are our pride and joy. Now they are taking giant leaps forward into their own brave, new worlds. They strike out full of confidence and bright, shining dreams for their futures. I am so proud.
It’s every parent’s hope that their children will be able to stand on their own, two feet. But it’s the ironic truth that if you do your job right, they’ll use those feet to walk away from you. That’s how it’s supposed to be. You revel in their independence but at the same time, oh, how you miss them.