My daughter graduates from college on Tuesday. I fly to Princeton tomorrow.
I am proud of her. But I will be no more proud of her on Tuesday than I was yesterday or the day before. Almost all her life a part of me has been standing with dropped jaw, watching her, wondering how she got here. When I wasn’t chasing someone down the hall to put their shoes on, of course.
The child, because I will never relinquish my right to call her a child, is a creature. I don’t think it’s just mother love talking. Part of it is her physical presence. She is very tall with long red curls and very fair skin. Long years of ballet have left an impact, turning the coordination she was born with into what I have to call poise. Most striking however is her will. Her will and her resilience. While she goes through the world with her fair share or more of girl drama – meltdowns, sulking, giddiness – she has a core of will and resilience that I can only watch and admire. I don’t know where she came from.
It is such a big moment – not to complete college, that in my family is a given. But to launch. To hold a job. To take steps. To cut your teeth. We love our children to the point of pain, we give them all we can, we help them to learn skills, we expend our resources for their experience – and then they go out into a world that may not feel as fondly as we do. I worry. We all do. But it’s the kind of worry that I welcome. It’s not anxiety. It’s the reality of love in this life.
Although I am glad for IM and cellphones.