My daughter is heading off to college this month. This is, of course, affecting me in both an emotional and practical way. She and I have started to cross over into the “friend” stage of our relationship, so we enjoy going to plays, watching chick flicks, shopping if the mood actually strikes her, or sneaking out for ice cream when no one is paying attention (shh!). I am going to miss hanging out with her when I’m not still doing my motherly job of keeping her on the straight and narrow. I am also losing my additional driver, and one of the few people in the house who can and will actually help me out when I ask. So that’s a big bummer.
Last night she plopped down next to me as I was playing on my phone and laid her head on my shoulder. It was nice. She told me that she didn’t really feel at all like an adult. I sort of laughed a little and informed her that I had technically been an adult for about 25 years, and I still didn’t feel like one. I remember being on my own at college for the first time like it was yesterday. In my heart, I still feel like that goofy teenager who could stay up all night hanging out with friends. It was a magical time, and I’m so thrilled for her to be in that place now.
Recently, I saw one of those internet memes that says “That horrifying moment when you’re looking for an adult, then realize you’re an adult, so you look for an older adult, someone successfully adulting… an adultier adult”. That’s me 75% of the time. I often look around my house and think “How did I get here? How am I responsible for all this, for these people? How in the world do I actually know what I am doing?” I know that the reason I am the person I am today is because of my parents. Did they teach me everything I need to know about being the forty-something me? Of course not, we learn along the way. But they did give me a good foundation. They taught me to be generous and humble, to take personal responsibility and think for myself. They taught me that it’s necessary to laugh, and it’s okay to cry. My mom taught me some basic laundry and cooking skills, and my dad taught me to pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Somehow I learned to change a tire, do basic household maintenance, use super glue and duct tape like a pro, balance a checking account, fill out a form, unclog a toilet, and clean up vomit without vomiting myself. I guess that’s what being an adult is generally about.
So as I send my daughter off into the world, I feel fairly confident that I have passed along most of this knowledge to her. I know that she’s going to be okay. Plus, it helps that she’s just a hop, skip and a jump from my parent’s house, and just maybe she can teach them a thing or two about this adulting thing – I sometimes wonder if they have the hang of it yet either.