I was a good teenager, in realations to other teenagers. I didn’t do hardcore drugs. I didn’t break curfew. I didn’t steal. I wasn’t arrested. I helped around the house as needed. I liked my parents. I liked spending time with my parents. I became rebellious the summer I was leaving for college. I could smell the freedom. I can smell the beginning of something new. I could feel the start of my life. I hated high school. I didn’t know how college was going to be, who I was going to become, but I knew I wasn’t the girl I was pretending to be in high school. My mother told me that’s when I left her. She explained my sister left in high school for a little came back in college but me, her baby, I left and didn’t come back for much longer. I didn’t really come back until I met my then to be husband. Me, the kid who use to spend nights being the Oreo stuffing in between them watching tv, I left for a long time.
Here I am 25 years later watching my 17 year old daughter leave. How do you let your child go but still be a parent? It’s different for me, it’s been just her and I for the last 10 years. She’s been with me through so much. I’ve been with her through so much. We’ve survived together a divorce, a toxic relationship, a breakup, her first boyfriend, her first heartache, her first love, many multiple sclerosis relapses, total disability, tons of tears, millions of smiles and thousands of inside jokes and laughs. She’s my daughter but she knows so many of my secrets and lies. She sees all the pain behind the smiles. I see her future and hopes every time I look at her. It makes me so sad and so happy in the same breath watching her grow up. I am terrified I will loose her and I’m terrified I didn’t do right by her. You try to raise them with the right values. That they make good decisions. That they don’t drugs or smoke or drink. That they don’t have unprotected sex get an STD, HPV or pregnant. You pray that they are safe every time they leave the house. That they drive safely are aware of other drivers on the road. They stay out of dangerous situation and that no one hurts them. Everyday I try to parent and my rules get stricter and she pulls away a little more. It’s hard raising a teenager. It’s hard letting go.