Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Return of the Prodigal Daughter

Daughter One finished her last exam yesterday and I'll be picking her up from university tomorrow to bring her back home for the summer. I am both excited and apprehensive about this. Excited because I've missed her and our chats about movies, life, books, clothes and whatnot. Apprehensive because she's been away, living as an almost adult, for over 8 months now and is used to coming and going as she sees fit and not having a worried mom and dad looking over her shoulder every second of the day. Now, she'll be living with us again and we have to settle into a new family dynamic. I really don't know how this will turn out.

I've discovered in the time D1 has been away that a life of blissful ignorance for parents can be a really good thing. When she first left I'd be texting and calling frequently, mostly to see if all was going well and to be assured she was adjusting to life in the dorm and away from home. I needn't have worried. D1 was ready to leave home at 10. She has LOVED her first year at university and, I think, if she could she'd stay there year round and be perfectly happy to do so. It's not that she doesn't love us but she's had a fabulous year and is already excited and planning her involvement with the university for her second year coming up in September. The only thing she's really excited about in coming home for the summer is getting a job and making some money :)

So,in the past eight months I've become used to worrying about her from a distance which is a totally different kind of worry than when a child is home. The transition from child to adult is hard enough on the teen but, my God, as a parent I'm struggling with it now that she's coming home from such a long time away. How much do I get involved in her life now? What do I need to know about what she's doing while living under my roof? How do rules apply to her as opposed to her other two, younger siblings?

I've already promised her that I will try and be as laid back as my control-oriented personality will allow. All I told her was, "Please, just let me know if you'll be home late and text me if you are staying at a friend's house otherwise I'll get absolutely no sleep this summer." She assured me that since all her friends are of legal age now to go out to clubs and she's got to wait until later in the year not to worry she won't be out that late. Yeah, right. Like she'll be hanging out at the library when her friends are out partying. Uh-huh.

But, as any parent who is lucky enough to still have a decent relationship with their kids as they hit this young adulthood age, we have to remember that we are blessed to see them progressing not only in age but hopefully in wisdom. I only hope some of that wisdom rubs off on me too.

So as my prodigal daughter returns I ask the universe to grant me the following wishes:

Please let me have the wisdom to keep my mouth shut when I need to.
Please let me know when to prod and ask her to talk about things that may be bothering her.
Please let me understand that she won't want to talk to Mom about many things. And please let me be okay with that.
Please let me remember that I am also evolving as a mother and that our relationship is evolving (or should be) as well.
Please let me remember that she is still only 'almost' an adult and won't necessarily always speak or behave as one all the time.
Please let her do her own laundry.

Those are pretty reasonable wishes, right? Well, maybe I was pushing it on the laundry one ...


  1. LOL! Good luck with that laundry thing. ;)

  2. I'm still a newbie at this parenting stuff, but I keep marvelling at how, as my kids grow, things don't seem to get any easier or harder... just different. It sounds here like that applies right into almost-adulthood! I love your wishes for your summer with your daughter. Here's hoping they all come true (even the last one).

  3. I bet you'll do just beautifully Nelsa - the 'evolving' point is the real beauty in the list I think :)

  4. Hi Anna! Thanks so much. But don't freak out when I tell you things get harder :)

    Hi Anna (so many Anna's!) If I keep reminding myself I'm evolving that gives me a heck of a lot of forgiveness room, right??