Suddenly I realize I am wrong.
Funny thing about raising children into adults is you seem to think we, as parents, are in control. You’re there when they come into the world, you’re there when they step onto the school bus their first day of class, and you’re there when they get their driver’s license. Not only do you share biological genes, but you also share the responsibility to watch over them. The letting out of rope of independence with each passing stage is inherently yours as a parent.
And we all know how this evolves over time – or so we think.
As a parent I’ve always thought I was in control – the one who extended the ties of freedom and responsibility with our kids. But today, with our youngest preparing to move out and off to college, I am now coming to the realization it is not me who is holding the scissors preparing to cut the ties – but rather, it is our daughter.
I’m sure I share the spell of parental pride with many others parents – that is the feeling in my heart that our daughter is very special and going to light the world on fire. Parents have a right to feel this way – and they should.
But somehow I thought I was always going to be the one who controlled the clock of independence. Only today I see this beautiful young woman with a pair of scissors poised over the invisible parental ties — eager to cut them at any moment. The timeline, I recognize, is now increasingly in her hands.
My wife and I have always treated our kids with respect and, in many ways, like adults their entire lives. I don’t think we even uttered what could be considered ‘baby words’ to them. We treated them with calm, reason, and logic, waiting for them to sort out the emotions of their age. And thankfully, they responded likewise and matured into wonderful adults.
So today as I begin to recognize the increasing signs of adult independence pushing through her actions, I have mixed emotions. After years of helping guide – or just being there — she is ready to let go. And this, as any parent will attest, is painful. Not painful as in hurtful, but a different feeling of pride mixed with the nervousness of the unknown. We suddenly realize we’re being relegated to the role of a pinch hitter sitting on the bench – called on only in certain situations.
I am so proud of my daughter I wouldn’t even know where to begin if asked to explain. At each turn I find myself admiring someone who is far more mature than I was at her age — radiating beauty from both the inside and out. I couldn’t ask for more from her.
That said it is the pair of scissors she holds that introduces me to new feelings. I never realized it would be her who cuts the ties of dependency – thus sending her sailing into the adult world without me at her side. This makes me uneasy to say the least.
But today I realize this is another natural progression in life — and he only person who seems to be caught by surprise is me.
– 30 –