Letting Them Grow
I walked into the restroom at the rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike on my way down to Temple University so I can hold my daughter, Dreya’s, hand at the age of 18 when she got her wisdom tooth extracted. There was a little platinum blonde girl (as Dreya had been) at the sink washing her hands. She must’ve been about seven years old. My heart warmed and my eyes became flooded. My mind flashed to my past when my kids were 4, 7 and 9. When I think of it I feel tremendous joy. Tears of joy often accompany the memory of my kids and I wonder if there’s also a feeling of grief underlying. Gone forever are the days when my children have to stand on their tippy toes to reach the faucet. I can’t help to wonder how much of this loss has inspired my desire to change the habits that are no longer working. Part of me considers that it’s fear-based. A bigger part of me clings to the thought that my desire to reconnect with my inner truth has come because my spirit is calling. No longer do my children require 100% of my attention. Perhaps they never did, though I was too fixated to realize any different. Too worried that they would feel abandoned if I did not fix everything or find a solution to every difficult situation. Now as the older ones explore their independence spreading their wings that they have so beautifully earned, I reflect. There is a bittersweet pride in knowing that I contributed to their persona. I am learning, however, that my sometimes overbearing persistence or passive aggressive ways were not necessary most of the time. Sometimes I am ashamed about this behavior. At other times I am so grateful that I have come to realize that I can just love them for who they are and that who they are is not solely the outcome of what I have provided. Sometimes I wonder why I did not seek my truth earlier. I am grateful that I am more present in my own journey and able to offer an example to my children rather than insistence. When the tears fall as they so often do when I reflect on the babies that I used to carry up the stairs and put into bed, it is always followed by a lightness and then appreciation of who they are becoming as adults, and where they are in their own journey. Sometimes I feel almost too blessed. I’m only about 4 miles away from Dreya’s world. It is a world all her own; one she has created without me. I am so proud of her. The Philadelphia skyline comes into view and I have only seen it a countable number of times. She wakes up to this backdrop every day. My only wish is that she does notice her surroundings and that she does make her connection and live in the now. I trust that her own way is the one that is perfectly right for her. Like all that have been given the gift to experience this earth she has her own journey. I love standing in the background(or beside her) and watching her and each of my children interact with it. Perhaps the greatest realization for me is that my attempts to intervene, control and persuade my children into doing things I thought were “proper” was less responsible than just supporting their way and having their back. Yes, even adults make poor choices and those almost always turn out to be the greatest lessons. Honoring my truth, making myself available to them when they reach out for help rather when I decide that I should interfere, and loving them unconditionally… mistakes and all has been the most rewarding gift of all.