Since late August, I have been taking note of life’s lasts–my daughter’s last high school homecoming dance, senior prom and our last Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter before she heads off to college. We agreed that we would spend “quality time” together, but it hasn’t exactly worked the way I hoped. I envisioned a few “princess day” shopping trips, and nostalgically celebrating our “family traditions” thought the holidays, but she had other plans. Brooke is a young woman now, with ideas of her own, and in spite of my desire to continue to run things, I know I have to back off and let her take the reins of her own life, especially since she will be on her own in just a few short months.
I’ve been a bit nostalgic, pouring over baby albums and remembering all the sweet times we’ve had as mother and daughter, for me every day has been a treasure–except, maybe the puberty part–that was tough. I have thought about how dramatically things changed when she came into my life–I went from a corporate woman who came and went as she pleased to a work from home mom who spent lots of time volunteering, homemaking and parenting. I don’t regret the choices I made where my career is concerned, but I am a bit out to sea when it comes to what I want to do next.
Now we are three weeks away from graduation, and she starts college over the summer–a challenging surprise–since we had plans for her to work over the summer to earn extra money for school. And, our plans to celebrate senior prom were dashed when her boyfriend couldn’t come home from college and she had to work. So, no, not everything has gone according to my plans. And speaking of things not going to plan, since she now has a boyfriend, we navigate holidays and events with his family so everyone has their moments, photo opportunities and time to celebrate the lasts.
With all these thoughts on closure, chapters ending and the like, I failed to see that we had a number of firsts to celebrate. Brooke’s first job, her first internship, the firsts of her filling out all her own school, work and medical forms and managing all the details to prepare for college, including scheduling doctor’s appointments and following up on all sorts of details. Her planning a mini move over the summer for summer school and the bigger move when she moves into her dorm for the full school year. Her first checking account and managing her money as an “adult” and her celebrating a one year anniversary with her boyfriend.
These firsts have been accelerating in the past few weeks, and where I was concerned as to whether she had developed the strength to be independent, the more she takes on for herself, the stronger she gets and the more excited I get for her and seeing the woman she is becoming. I’ve written and thought a good bit about misgivings, concerns and lasts, now I am beginning to see how much we have to celebrate.