“It’s my life.”
When your child is under your roof you have more opportunities, more time to have conversations that matter. Conversations about a summer job, where they want to attend college or if they even want to go to college. When your kids live at home your conversations can last as long as they need to (or you want them to).
But when your child goes to college, it’s hard to have a meaningful conversation in snippets. I talk to my daughter every day (literally) but it’s more of a what’s going on today type of discussion because she’s either on her way to study, to do something for sorority or to work. Deep conversations now feel like Bigfoot sightings – elusive and very rare.
Last weekend we went to visit my daughter to celebrate her 21st birthday (I know, I know, clearly I am too young to have a child who has been on this earth 21 years. But I digress.), and I had an agenda with 3 important topics up for discussion. One was to establish a plan for next summer, which we all agreed needed to have the word “internship” in the plan, but that’s where the agreements ended.
When my husband or I would make a suggestion that she didn’t care for, her response was, “But it’s my life.” And I’ll just say at first I was completely annoyed by that response. Of course it’s your life, but you need our wisdom, our experience, our contacts, our money…
While we were talking about “her life” I mentally drifted from the restaurant. I had a flashback to when she was almost one. As she was learning to walk she held both my hands as she tentatively put one foot in front of the other. I was always behind her to catch her if she were to fall. Slowly but surely she let go of one of my hands, took a step, then another, and eventually she let go of my other hand, took some more steps, and carefully looked behind her to make sure I was still there, just in case she needed me as she walked all by herself.
And yep, that’s when it hit me. We are in the same place, just 20 years later. I’d say we are at the point where she is holding on to the index finger of my right hand, ready to let go completely and walk her own path. Yes, I will be right here should she fall and need some help to get back on her feet, but it’s getting to the point of – dare I say it – independence!
So hold on to your hearts, mommas (and daddies) – that day is coming where yep, it is your child’s life to live. And as hard as it may be, we’re gonna have to deal with that little dose of reality. So how do we handle that transition?
Through prayer. Pray for them, pray for yourself – “…pray without ceasing…” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and trust in God’s plan for their lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
And then watch. Wait and watch as that toddler who learned to walk on her own one day slowly but surely lets go of your hands and begins to walk on the path God has laid out for her.
It’s her life.