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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Miss Independence

Texting with my daughter this morning:

Say what? You're on the road? How would've I known to start worrying more than I already do?

I knew she was going to Georgia sometime this spring. But she hadn't mentioned it in our last several conversations. Hubby had just spoken with her yesterday. He wasn't aware either. 

There she goes... there she goes again.

Does that say independence?
That's our Alex. Fiercely independent. She's the kid I could never convince to lay in bed with us when she was a toddler. She needed her space. (This turned out to be okay, since second kid was a fixture between Doug and I until he was about eight.) She's also the kid who decided to venture to the restroom – on her own – in the mall – when she was in kindergarten as I tried to figure out the baby stroller. Luckily she outsmarted any evil kidnapper. She made it all the way to the ladies room with her mother and grandmother having only mild heart attacks.

Mom always told me, "Raise your kids to be independent." She didn't tell me what an anxiety-ridden task that would be. I fear the day we receive a text that says, "Oh Mom! The mountains in Afghanistan are simply breathtaking! Did I tell you I'm moving here?"

In truth, I admire the my daughter's self-awareness and tenacity. Like the time she insisted on wearing canary-yellow tights to Catholic School. Or the time she convinced us to let her go to the Netherlands. By herself. Or the many times she's surprised us with a new tattoo that stood for something extremely profound and difficult for me to understand. 

Now she's on to be become a journalist determined to expose social injustices in the world.

How about that?
It's a strange combination of pride and heartache when your kids develop into these interesting creatures who take on a life of their own. I won't deny the satisfaction I feel when she calls to ask me a question about getting her wisdom teeth out or paying a credit card bill or cleaning mold off the kitchen floor.  She still needs us on a practical level. But when she showed us her most recent tattoo – Roman numerals of her father's, brother's and mother's birthdays, I realized something else. She still needs us emotionally. She'll always need our love. And she'll always get it.

Today after she told me about this service trip with sixteen other university students, I politely asked her to keep me posted. I also mentioned something to her about her stalwart independence. She told me it was my fault. But I sort of disagree. I tried my best to keep her under my wing. Luckily, she's much stronger than me.

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