Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unfamiliar Territory

I went to visit my college girl recently. It was a strange place to be.

The city wasn't strange. Chicago is awesome. Even staying in her dorm room wasn't strange. Messy, but not strange. In fact, messy was expected.

No, it was the place between parent and friend that was a little strange.

When the plane landed and I followed her directions to the Blue Line and then tried to figure out how to purchase the right ticket and ended up calling her to figure it out, I realized a reversal had occurred. I was depending on her knowledge, experience, and opinions to guide me to where I needed to be. I rode the 35 minutes marveling at the fact that my baby girl was making her way in this big city. I was nearly in tears by the time I arrived.

However, I was very pleased to be faced with a mini-crisis which required my assistance only moments after going through the Fort Knox security to get to her room! And the world seem to settle back in to place. I even had the chance to throw in, "You guys do own a vacuum, don't you?" and "When was the last time someone washed a dish?"

In fact, the second those words escaped my lips, I realized how horribly nagging they sounded. And realized, too, why mothers do that. Why they come to the college or apartment or wherever the place is that the kids are trying to attain adulthood, and say things like, "Is there a hanger for this coat or do you want it on the floor?"

It is a sad, pathetic attempt to remain the Roaring Mom.

It was a good weekend. We laughed about things you can't enjoy with your highschooler because you like to pretend they don't get the punchline to those kinds of jokes. We discussed real societal issues, instead of stupid teachers and gossipy girls. At times, we surprised each other when we remembered we were talking to our mom/daughter. And there were many instances when I am sure she felt responsible for my safety and well-being while we explored the big city. I recognized it because it's exactly what I had felt on our family vacation there years earlier.

The moment you realize your kid has got it all under control, your heart bursts. There is an immediate urge to snatch up the Life Remote, punch the rewind button and never, never let go. It's only when you get back home, in the silence of your baby's absence when you understand that thing that burst your heart wide and painfully open, was pride. Pride that you had some hand in getting her there. And even more pride in the fact that she found most of her way on her own.

One of Kate's first big words was "independent". She used to raise her little hand in the air, point her index finger to the sky and announce. "I'm independent!" She's fought for that word her whole life. And now, she does "independent" beautifully!

How do I become a Roaring Mom of an Adult Child? Yes, it's a very strange place to be.  Especially when I still have non-adult children to be a Roaring Mom to. But there was a time when I didn't have the slightest idea how to be a Roaring mom to anything. And figuring that out seemed somewhat strange, too. But just like then, I'll figure it out as I go along. It will only be strange until it's normal. Then, I hope, it will be beautiful, too.


  1. Wow....this was awesome Deborah - and so timely! I miss my Emily so much! I'm still trying to make that transition from full-time mom to advisor, when she needs it! Sally

  2. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and you do it beautifully, Sally. I hope Emily is all healed and doing awesome!