Today my big one (16 year old girl) went on a shopping trip out of the country and I am not with her. Feels so good, and feels so bad.
We live in Toronto, and she went to Buffalo so in distance it is less than 2 hours away. But she is going across an international border without me and I am happy for her, but nervous and sad for me. We talked about the risks:
1 – they could have a car accident and she would be far away from me
2 – there is risk of pick-pocketing in a ‘tourist mall’ like the one they are going to
3 – there could be trouble at the border with customs or immigration
After we discussed what could happen and what she should do in any of these cases, she asked me if I was trying to convince her not to go. I explained that I was happy for her that she would be going with her best friend and it was low risk any of these bad things would happen. I just need her to be prepared as she is now doing things without me and when she is with me, she can leave all the worrying and prep to me.
She is a self-confident, outgoing, mature teen-ager who (mostly) makes good choices and is enjoying her life. All the things I want for her are happening, but each step reminds me that she is gently pulling away.
I remind her as she is grabbing her purse and jacket that while I know this is a big day for her and she will have a wonderful time, she needs to think about how hard it is for her dear, old mom. She smiles, hugs me a minute longer than she needs and a minute less than I need, and skips out the door.
Go, girl, go. But please always turn around and smile at me!