Yesterday was the first day of school. The last first day of school that I will be with my daughter. Sigh. The day started out the same as always. I went to the corner store to get my daughter her traditional egg and cheese sandwich. I fastened her necklace after she put on her new and carefully chosen outfit, I took her picture in front of my building, I shed a tear. It was the picture that did it: I’ve taken her picture in the same spot in front of my building since she was in nursery school. After I hugged her good bye and watched all walk towards the subway, I entered my building and looked at my doorman. He just nodded his head: he’s seen me take this picture every year. He knows the significance as much as I do.
Where did the time go?
I was recently chatting with Shalini and Jo, and I regaled the fact that I have become the crazy woman in the market who tells parents with small children in tow to not blink, because before you know it, your kids will be all grown up. I know from experience: I blinked. So don’t blink…
What do I mean by this? Make time for memories. Make time to do things that are just for fun. Have traditions. Take pictures. Build a relationship with your child.
I realize I an the most structured person in the world: I have a schedule and a procedure for everything. I’m a stickler for homework and completing what you started and being a good team player. I taught her rules and responsibilities. But I also let my daughter jump in puddles just to see her smile as the water splashed up. I let her use play doh in the living room, and dealt with the mess. We built lego forts in the middle of the living room, sang really badly, had game tournaments and Mommy/Daughter outings. We lived and experienced and enjoyed. And because I have a head full of memories, I am reasonably OK about the future. (I say reasonably because there is a 33% chance that I will follow her to college and move across the street and stick a GPS chip in her arm while she’s asleep) I truly believe I am going to let her move out…
Remember that the job of a parent is to raise a self sufficient adult. We’ve done our job if they are able to join the world and leave us behind. Our job is to push them out of the nest. So when you shed a tear as you watch their back walk away, remember that this is good, that this is what is supposed to happen. And know that they love you even if they’re looking at you through the rear view mirror. They see you- they’re still looking- they know you have their back if things go south. They know how much you love them.
Remember the good times. Laugh about the bad (you can laugh- it’s in the past) Wave good bye for now. It’s OK. They’re in your head and in your heart. And you will always be in theirs.