My daughter will begin her sophomore year of high school tomorrow. So today she asked if we could take her friends over to school to walk their schedules and put their supplies in their lockers.
As we were driving over (actually she was driving, I was riding shotgun) it suddenly hit me that this is the last time I will do this with her. Next year, I won’t be in the car. She’ll have graduated from permit to license, and be driving her friends over to school by herself.
It made me feel a little nostalgic, sad, and a little proud of her at the same time. I watched as she was able to converse with her friends and drive at the same time, how she didn’t really need my occasional whispered coaching about turn signals or slowing down.
Parenting is really just a long process of letting go, an endless practice of preparing your kids for independence. This time of year, as I send my kids back to school, I’m more keenly aware of their ever-growing independence. Yes, they need me–especially emotionally in this stage of their lives. But that emotional support actually makes them even more ready to try things on their own.
Right now, my daughter and her friends are giggling and talking in the next room. It’s a sound I’m savoring. I’m trying to enjoy the ride for as long as I can.