Earlier this summer our sixteen year old daughter got her beginners permit. She was thrilled and I…well, I was…I was happy. I adore watching our children set, work towards and reach their goals. It’s exciting to see your kids grow and mature. I have to admit though, each time I see them attain milestones it’s bittersweet.
Bittersweet? Yes, bittersweet. I share their joy and pride yet at the same time, it reminds me of how quickly they’re growing up and developing into independent individuals. While I’m happy they’re healthy and happily growing up a part of me mourns their fleeting childhood. I remember holding our fussing infants while people told us; “Don’t blink because they’ll before we know it they’ll be grown up…” I recall thinking, “Yeah right.” But it’s true. Both our children are growing, changing, and moving towards becoming young adults before our eyes.
These milestones are achieved by both children and their parents. Sure children are the ones growing and developing physically, mentally and emotionally but, so are their parents. When I look at my daughter in the driver’s seat beside me as we head out on the road together I realize two things. First, she’s growing up and I’m proud of the young woman she’s becoming. Secondly, she’s not the dependant little girl she was… She’s beginning to break out of her chrysalis and spread her wings. Pretty soon she’ll take flight. While that’s wonderful for her it’s a smack of reality for me. I’m not saddened by her developing independence, I’m just in awe of how rapidly it’s happening. Part of me is beaming with pride while inside my heart is saying “slow down just a little.”
One Sunday afternoon recently while returning her to the summer camp where she works, she insisted on driving. I recall being nervous as she pulled out of our driveway…Then, I looked over at her face glowing with confidence and pride as she gripped the steering wheel and accelerated out of the driveway, a sense of peace washed over me as I realized she’s growing up, on the road to independence, whether I’m ready for this or not. In that flash of a moment I realized, this is what her father and I have been working towards since we she was first placed in our arms sixteen years ago…helping her develop and mature into a confident, independent, compassionate, contributing member of society. I can honestly say, we’ve done our best to ‘fill her up’ with the tools and skills she’ll need in life. This is where “The Rubber Meets the Road”. Its time to let our little butterfly begin to spread her wings and go…