Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Safety of the Nest

"You don't have to go, you know. I won't be mad if you want to stay home."

Katie's flying to Texas with my mom tomorrow, and when I said this to her last night, she looked at me like I had two heads. The thing is, I meant it. I don't want her to go. I want her to stay home with me, safe and snug under my wing and watchful eye. Forever.

Katie is the kid that pushed us out the door the first day of kindergarten, who happily skipped off to sleep away camp like it was not the enormous deal that it was. Meanwhile, I am a weepy, anxious mess until she is home again. I don't think it's okay for people to live in bunkers and never let their kids out of their sight, but I get it. 

It's not that I don't trust the people my kids are with. My mom and Sean are highly trustworthy, very careful, competent, responsible, blah blah blah. I have faith that their schools will keep them well while they're there, and that a friend's house is as safe as my own. But they're not me. I have special Mom powers that will always keep my children well and healthy and happy and ensure that nothing bad will ever, ever happen to them.

Except I don't. I've heard too many tragic stories this week, of sick children and worse, from families better than mine, with stronger faith, more goodness, more diligence. I realize that life and circumstance and sheer bad luck are stronger than the cloak of protection I try to weave around them. I can only hope that my best will be good enough to deliver them to adulthood, and then I can spend the rest of my life worrying about their choices, and cursing the lack of control I have over their lives.

So I'll pack Katie's bag and send her off and know that she'll have a wonderful time. I will try to not drive the rest of the family and myself crazy for the next week. I will try to remember that this is part of growing up, and letting go, and trusting in life.

I will try to have faith that when she leaves my nest, she'll fly.

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