Oh, the Places You’ll Go

My 21-year-old daughter left for Barcelona on New Year’s Day. Study abroad. She won’t be back until May 28. I was feeling pretty good about it until I happened to catch an episode of House Hunters International. A young American woman and her South American fiancé were looking for an apartment in Chile. She met him while studying in South America. They were in the same history class. I really didn’t need to see that.

It’s Monday and the only communication we’ve had from her is that she arrived at the Barcelona airport and she had met up with the program director. I have to assume that she’s REALLY busy, or that she doesn’t have access to wi fi at the moment – otherwise, why wouldn’t she be skyping with her mom!!!?

This is a kid who was a preschool dropout. I couldn’t leave her at Mother’s Day Out because she would cry all day. The director had to isolate her from the other kids, then have a talk with me about how “she may not be ready for preschool.” I felt like such a failure. Other kids could do it. Why not mine?

Having kids is one big experiment in letting go. And it doesn’t start with the kid as much as with yourself. The best thing for me to do was to let go of any sense of ownership or expectation that my children would be like me or my husband. You find out pretty quickly that they have their own temperaments and personalities; along with that comes their own talents and interests. Didn’t Ghandi or somebody say that our children don’t belong to us?

I remember thinking how I couldn’t imagine my child going to kindergarten. Then middle school – that was tough. High school. Driving. Jobs. College in another state. Independent travel. And now Europe.

I keep thinking about my experience studying abroad. Back in the olden days, we didn’t have all the ways to keep in touch. My parents didn’t hear from me for weeks. At least we have Skype. What a great invention. Now if she would only use it.

Categories: Editor’s Blog