Sunday, July 18, 2010

Letting go

Being a parent is a balancing act--when to step in, when to step back, when to gently voice opinions, when to bite my tongue. Hard. It's all part of the inevitable, the letting go of this other person who has to be on their own way, their own path. And it starts the minute they're born, I'm afraid.

Nineteen-plus years ago, Katie arrived with a roar and has been the most amazing person in my life this whole time. As I've watched her grow, gain confidence--even if she stumbles a little here and there (as do we all)--it has always been with the anticipation of the next thing she learns, the next step away from me she takes on the road to herself.

All in all, I feel pretty lucky to be a part of Katie's life. She is strong and capable, remarkably self-motivated, and can even still admit when something scares her. Like tomorrow's 5-hour (or so) solo drive up to Slide Mountain Ranch, towing Sammy in the recently-cleaned trailer. She has driven the truck and trailer several times, but the longest trip has been an hour and a half. She is, however, an incredibly competent driver and my only suggestion was to pull over whenever and as often as she needed. She already knows to drive as if everyone else is about to do the dumbest thing possible.

Will I be calm and serene tomorrow while I know she's on the road? I'll try to be, because sending worried energy her direction is the wrong plan. It will help to remind myself of the things I had done at her age, and to know what a great opportunity working at Slide is for her. It is something she will remember all her life and that nourishes her in a way many things in life won't.

There have been many times I've wanted to wrap her up and protect her from the world, and once or twice she's even let me. But mostly she points herself in a direction and goes, knowing I'm there if she needs me, but wanting to try it her way first. When she was little, she would say, "My do it!"

And she usually does.

It is, after all, her fault we have all these horses running around in our lives.


Anonymous said...

I know just what you mean - my older daughter is 21 and the younger is 19. They've both been all over the country, and to other parts of the world, on their own, but of course I think about them and worry. My older daughter has already driven our F-350 and 4-horse gooseneck thousands of miles - she's also an excellent driver.

Joy M. Drennen said...

That's a really beautiful post. And it captures you and Katie so well. One of your exploits was to drive someone else's van to San Diego and back. With a load of crew mates. The closest I ever came was to drive the company van, with three passengers, from here to Iowa City twice. The second time, fortunately, Vanzo came along. Can't you just picture him in a long white robe with wings, chomping on a cigar? Love, Mom