After a long winter break my daughter, Raine, returned to her school on Monday. She attends boarding school in St. Louis and since her departure, I have been weepy without her near. She graduates in the spring and our time together will only dwindle as she steps into the fullness of her life as an adult.
The gravity of this monumental right of passage is hitting me with full force. I know I will always be her mother but my role in many ways will change drastically after she graduates. I will have finished my purpose as the mother of Raine as a child and move into being the mother of an adult. Although there are tangible changes when a child graduates, the real shift for me is on the subtle level.
Raine was my only child for 13 years when her little brother Finnegan arrived the day before her 13th birthday. We have been through so much together over these 17 years and we share a special bond. I feel a strong connection to her that extends beyond this lifetime.
When she was a baby, it was clear to me, that my job as her parent, was too build her confidence, develop her independence, and most importantly to guide her to listen to her own internal compass. I had a vision of her leaving home as an empowered young woman who knew who she was and what she wanted to achieve in life. If that thing she initially chose changed a dozen times in her life, it wouldn’t matter to me; having a sense of direction of what to do next was important.
You can probably guess that this desire for her was created out of my own experience which looked very different. I had no direction and no real options, so when the Marine Corps recruiter called I didn’t hesitate to say yes! I know my parents did the best they knew how and I have no regrets about the choices I had, nor the decisions I made.
Raine however, is having a very different experience. She knows what college she is attending next year and her passion is musical theater, so she plans to study theater, dance and voice for four years and then head to New York City to test her talents.
As we move into the last months of her childhood, I am reflecting on our time together – both the low points and the high points. I made a lot of mistakes along the way but as is true for every mom, I did the best I knew how, or I would have done better. Life has dealt Raine some challenges to overcome but I know these challenges also have made her into the woman she has become.
She is one of the funniest people I know; she is tenacious, kind and ever so talented. She sings, dances, plays the ukulele, ice skates, snow boards, rides horseback, kayaks, and brings joy to many. I couldn’t be prouder of all she has accomplished thus far and am so excited to witness her from my new position as the mother of the adult Raine.