There’s this thing that happens every once in a while – this feeling I get. No, that’s not quite right. It’s a feeling I don’t get, when I’m actually supposed to get one. I know I’m supposed to get one, because everyone who experiences these particular events is supposed to feel a particular way.
Sad. Kind of melancholy. That’s how I should feel today. Because when your eighteen year old daughter leaves home, as a mother, you should feel sad and melancholy, right?
I guess. But I don’t. I feel proud, and not just because she’s worked for and earned her independence, and our trust. I also feel pleasantly surprised it’s all worked out for her relatively easily – she was approved for the first rental property she applied for, in a market which dictates you can apply for twenty properties before being approved. I shouldn’t really be surprised. She’s not just lucky, she’s fortunate. Our family generally believes you make your own luck, and that girl sure knows how to make her own luck.
I feel relief. Another one pretty much raised – three down, one to go. This one’s been a toughie. She’s a strong woman, and she was a strong girl too. She always knew what she wanted, and sometimes, it wasn’t her mother. But we worked it through, and she was always willing. We’ve made mistakes, but I’ve made most of them. For all I did wrong, she’s become an amazing person, and there’s something very right about that.
I feel incredible admiration. I would never have had the strength or the sense to live the life she’s living. I was too insecure, unfettered to anything, unfocussed, needy and scattered. My girl is a lot of things, but scattered isn’t one of them. She had to grow up quickly. Sometimes I forget of all the things Ben and I have been through – my having cancer, and Bens’ alcoholism and recovery – our kids have been through those things too. We are survivors, all of us. No wonder she’s so wise and strong. She’s had a lifetime of experiences she never asked for, wasn’t to blame for, couldn’t have prepared for. But she did those things like she does everything else. Capably. Wisely. Insightfully. Nothing like me.
So, I do feel something today. Proud, relieved, grateful and admiring. But not sad. I am elated. I’m grateful. Whenever things like this happen in my life, when my kids take another step away from me and become able to lead their own lives without me carrying them in another small way, I always feel kind of ecstatic. Why? Because nine years ago, I sat in a hostel dormitory four hundred kilometres away from my baby girl and her three brothers, all because I had to go away to have radiotherapy to cure me from cancer. Night after night, I lay in that bed missing them so hard it physically hurt, and prayed one day I’d see them all grow into adults, and leave home.
I didn’t want to leave them before they were grown up. I wanted them to leave me because they were grown up. Because that’s how it should be.
I begged God, please, please……
And I didn’t die.
How could I be sad on days like this? Big fat prayer answered today, people.
Three down, one to go.
Thank God He very rarely holds us to these kinds of bargains.