You can. You will. You are.

This weekend I took my baby girl, who is no longer a baby, to college. She woke up at 4:30 on Saturday morning, cleaned up the kitchen, took out trash and recycling, made her bed for the last time, then woke me at 5:30.

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“Time to go, mama,” she whispered into the darkness.

We hit the road about 6:30, stopped for a quick coffee and breakfast to go and drove along the coast. We didn’t stop until 10:00 when we reached the university.

Along the way, she played  music for me, songs that mostly made us sing out loud, laugh, talk.  One song, however, was different. I heard the lyrics in a way I hadn’t before.

“Well I’ve been afraid of changing, ’cause I built my life around you.

Time makes you bolder, children get older, and I’m getting older too.”

We’ve always loved Dixie Chicks, she & I.  It is a beautiful part of our shared narrative. As I drove we sang, we smiled, and the tears came. Couldn’t help it.  She reached across the console and held my hand. I smiled behind the tears.  She squeezed my hand a little tighter.

Moments like these ARE  relationship.

Moments like this speak to the many many moments, times, memories experienced across a connection between parent and child.

I carry all the times I so value with this now young adult woman.  Relationship changes. But it endures – the composite of so many exchanges, experiences, and events.

Two days pass so quickly. She doesn’t need me now. She is only looking ahead.

“It’s really happening, mama!” she exclaims at the quick lunch she grabs with me before I leave on Sunday afternoon. Her excitement is palpable, contagious. I leave smiling inside and out.

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My grandmother used to tell me this:  “Honey, you only really get the first five years.”  I didn’t understand what she meant. But looking back across this child’s life, I see she had a point. Our babies are really dependent only upon us for those first five years. After that there is school, sports, events, friendships. Others step in to be part of the village that raises the child. The expansion of community has an effect on, changes the dynamic between mother and child.

On the drive home I consider all the parents bringing their children to school, many for the first time. Do the parents who drop off their babies for kindergarten and first grade feel the same? I remember tears at kindergarten separation. What a passage. Children move on. They grow up. We are excited for them. Very sad too.

Eighteen years went by in a blink. As a young person I thought it would be my whole life, raising a family. Turns out, it’s only 18 years. And yes, I know…it’s not over, just changing, and still.  Five years also goes far too quickly. Wasn’t she just born a minute ago? Didn’t she just take her first steps? I wasn’t done with that part yet.

This sweet sad parting has left me with an opening to the next phase of her life, but of mine as well.

Passages matter. The way we experience them and the things we communicate to our children matter too.  We want to send them off knowing we are excited for them, delighted for them. We want them to know in their core that we believe they are ready. We know they are capable. We expect them to do well. We trust them to make good choices.

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Go sweetheart and take on the world!  You can. You will. You are!

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About Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be You

Principal at the Sweetest Little School by the Sea at the north end of Los Angeles Harbor. Working to make the world a little more awesome.
This entry was posted in parenting, perceptions, thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to You can. You will. You are.

  1. Ramona says:

    Wonderful post. Love those final words to your daughter. You’ve given her the wings to fly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julieanne says:

    Beautiful post Dayna. It is just like yesterday in someways, but in other ways. light years ago. You are both venturing on. Life is bittersweet. I’ll be there next year. Feeling a bit of that oncoming pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. margaretsmn says:

    Yes, I teared up. I have been there…3 times. They do come back. I love this quote, “There are only two lasting bequests we give our children: one is roots, the other wings.” You have both and in between a strong relationship that will get you both through it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • daywells says:

      Thank you Margaret. I am finding so much support from moms who have journeyed here before me. Remember when you first took your first born out into the world and people began interacting with you differently? You realized you had joined the new mom club? This is quite similar on the other end!

      Like

  4. Terri says:

    Good luck to both of you as you forge a new relationship with each other as adults. Now as then they mostly need you when bad things happen. Just try to remember how important you are in her life, even when she forgets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • daywells says:

      I wish someone had clued me in to this back during the middle school years! Still, tis good to know it at last, that yes – that call or text comes when things go wrong. And we’ll take it with a warm hug and offer encouragement!

      Like

  5. demidem says:

    Beautiful Dayna! Sniffle…sniffle. This post truly resonates with me today. Children get older and I’m getting older too. I love that song. The passage of time leaves behind the most precious of memories and life lessons, but also opens doors to exciting unknowns in the future. You and Delaney are precious! Blessings to you both!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Terje says:

    Beautiful post. My middle one moved to another city to start university, and I was ready to go to send her off. She said it wan’t necessary, packed one large bag and took the train. I know I wanted her to grow to be independent, but letting her go has been a challenge for me. Fortunately she came to visit the next weekend already. I love your last paragraph. It resonates strongly with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. elsie says:

    Life moves at warp speed the older you get. What an emotional piece to write and read! Children grow up too fast, but what a journey you share together. The saddest day of my life was watching my son drive away from home to create a new life for himself in California.

    Liked by 1 person

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