Our daughter turned 17 recently. She’s in that hazy transition between pubescent teen and real woman. It’s only in the last few months that she has started to realise that she will soon take full responsibility of her actions and words. In one year in the eyes of the law she will be an adult.
She’s moody and concerned that she hasn’t got a grip on what she really wants to do with her life. She’s grappling with trying to find her driving motivator. She is driving my husband and me nuts! No question these probing thoughts have been pushed to the forethought of her consciousness because she took the initiative to leave the cloistered environment of her private school to spend her last two years in a school whose student body has a real world reflection. While it still offers her an opportunity to have an excellent education, she has to be proactive and more organized to reap the full benefits of this less restricted environment.
I’m doing all I can to be there for her but there comes a time when a parent has to step back and let their child make their own way into the real world. Sometimes I wish she would hang onto my apron string a bit longer. I’ve noticed she’s stopped saying ‘love you’ every time she leaves for school. My girl is carrying a load slightly heavier than her backpack these days.
I take comfort in the fact that I have 16 years of ‘Iove you’ in the bank. As those strings get longer and longer and I watch her walk away from me, I encourage her to be strong, to believe in herself and respect herself and others as she steps out. While she is learning to cope with growing up I am learning to cope with growing a bit older and certainly wiser. I will do my best to be her anchor should she need to mind the tide and occasionally have to stop herself from drifting. Together we grow and the dynamic of our relationship changes but the ‘love you’ will always be in our hearts if not on our tongues.