Although I’ve been sick with the flu for days, when my daughter called and said she was coming home from college for the night, I told her I was thrilled. Her friend was coming too? Great! Now, between you and me, the last thing I really wanted was anyone around. I forced myself to go to work the last few days and I was utterly exhausted. But one lesson my car accident taught me was never to waste the moment, so yes, was my answer, and I truly meant it.
Getting used to a new relationship with a child takes a lot of emotional adjustment. Knowing that my baby will never live full-time with me again took months to get comfortable with. She and I get along so well, it’s rare that we argue, and honestly, we truly enjoy each other’s company. We simply knew how to co-exist peacefully and happily. But she grew up, moved on and I had to either come to terms with it or go insane. I could choose to sit and weep over her childhood photos or accept the fact that my beautiful child was now a beautiful young woman. I choose acceptance, although my heart still wrenches over the choice, on occasion. I find I have to hold back a lot, keep my selfish thoughts to myself and let her find her way in the world.
She came home because she needed her touchstone and she was looking for a little wisdom, some guidance and a whole lot of love. She’s going through a lot and finding that people, and life, are not always as she wishes it could be. I was grateful that she considered me to be a “place” where she could get centered, renewed and ready to go back out and battle the world. Her hug and kisses when she came in the door, well, they were incredible.
We ate dinner, played a very competitive game of Scrabble and then settled down with tea and ice cream to look through her and her sister’s childhood scrapbook and photos. Of course I saved everything her and her sister made, from macaroni picture frames to school projects. Every year marked in photos, every memory etched in our minds.
We laughed till we cried and so many memories flooded back. One of the best was my daughter’s ad for “Bookstore of Bookmarks.” When she was in third grade, she and her friend Bennett decided to make some money. They advertised bookmarks, drew the designs and offered special deals, such as 5 for only 25 cents. They even created order forms. For address, my daughter wrote “apartment number.” In her mind, everyone must live in an apartment, because at that time, she did. She told me she kept her income derived from this capital adventure in her glue box. I didn’t know she really got any money from it until last night. I also didn’t know how much trouble she had gotten into when the teacher found out what she and Bennett were up to. Personally, I think it was brilliant. (smile)
I can now look back and not long for the return of those days. I am proud of the children I have gifted to this world and ache with the hope that their futures are as bright and beautiful as they are.
My daughter came home to me for love. I am grateful, beyond words, and I received the same in return. Saying goodbye to her will never, ever be easy, but I will be strong and let her go… because the beautiful thing is, I know now she will always return.
Bio: Michelle Kennedy is a teacher of English, avid nature lover, single mom and writer. Several of her poems and essays have been published and she is actively seeking a publisher for her collection of poetry. She is presently working on a novel and her life story is being considered for publication. Michelle’s passion to write began beyond conscious recollection; it’s like breathing.
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