Next fall I will be sending my daughter away to college. Like other college Freshman, she’ll be on her own for the first time. My doubts and fears are already surfacing. Did I prepare her enough, is she world-wise enough, will she be taken advantage of, will she make good choices. Her world is about to expand, and now I’ll be on the periphery.
I was there for her first smile, her first tooth, her first day of school. I was there to celebrate with her the victories, and wipe away the tears of defeat. But I won’t be there for her college firsts. I won’t be there to comfort her when she gets her heart broken for the first time, I won’t be there to fight her battles, to chase the demons and banish the monster hiding under the bed. No, I’ll be three thousand and twelve point six miles away.
I didn’t go to college until I was in my thirties. I didn’t have to be smart at 18, but she does. She needs to understand that there are people out there who are users, men who are takers, and people who pretend to be your friend when really they’re not. She also needs to know that there are good people in the world. People who care, and will stand by your side no matter what. Those are the kind of friendships that last a lifetime.
It is the double-edged sword of a parent. If you do your job right, they don’t need you any more. They are self-sufficient, independent people who hopefully know their own worth. The best I can do is hope I’ve given her the tools needed to be successful.
These will be my parting words, “have fun – but not too much fun, work hard, but take time out for play, protect yourself, but have an open heart. Most of all, find your joy”. And when she does, I hope I get a call. I’ll mark it in my book of firsts; right next to the picture of a little girl in pigtails, holding a lunch box, missing a baby tooth.