It was just over a year ago – December 3, 2016 to be exact. We helped Amanda pack up her stuff and moved her to Santa Barbara. She wanted to be closer to the job she had just started there, and I’m sure that she also wanted to have her own place (and a bit of space from her parents). Living with the parents is fine, to a point.
I was happy for her. Officially moving out is a big deal. It was great to see her achieve a significant milestone.
On the other hand, parts of me were sad. We do a lot for our children and always want the best for them. It’s hard watching them go and not knowing what will happen when they leave. At some point though, we have to do it. As hard as it is, we have to let go.
Because we want the best for our kids, there’s a desire to want to do everything for them. A desire to tell them what to do. A desire to tell them how to do it. A desire for them to avoid the same mistakes we made growing up. When Amanda was five years old, that approach worked great. At 23, not so much.
As she has grown older, our role has had to change from supervisor to advisor. It’s not healthy for us to keep doing things for her. There are some lessons she has to learn on her own. There are experiences that we have to let her go through so she can learn and mature into an adult.
Now, this isn’t to say that we intended to abandon her once she moved out. Of course, we’re always here to offer advice and lend a helping hand whenever she asks for or needs it. Always. While we may not do things for her, she needs to know that we’re always here to help her up if (and when) she falls. It’s the importance of knowing there’s a safety net, just in case it’s needed.
She’s done well for herself over the past year. There’s been the normal highs and lows of life such as changing apartments (low), traveling around the world (high), and changing jobs (low or high depending on how you look at it). Thankfully, she hasn’t had to rely on the safety net, which is still there should she need it.
Through it all, she’s also fit in time to check-in with us. One thing I’m very glad we did shortly after she moved out was offer her a standing invitation to join us for dinner on Sunday evenings. It’s been nice having her (and her boyfriend) join us on a regular basis. It may not be the same as having her living at home, but it’s good to catch up and hear how she’s doing.
As I put on a wrap on this post, I’m reminded of the Darius Rucker song “It Won’t Be Like This For Long“. When the kids are little, there are those times when it feels like they’ll never grow up. Then they do. You wonder if you’ve done all the right things when they walk out that door. You can only hope that you’ve taught them well, and that they will find their way and succeed. As much as you want to hold on and do things for them, you can’t. You have to let go.
You’ve done well for yourself, Amanda. I’m certain you’ll be fine and continue to do so. And remember, you’re always welcome at home, anytime.