A year ago my daughter was about to leave the nest.
The soft, feathered, built-painstakingly-by-hand nest I’d created for her since the moment I knew she existed.
Fine, her father helped…but still.
I knew I needed to tell her all the things before she left, but didn’t feel like I needed to write one of the typical letters of advice. I mean, I’d been giving her more advice than she ever wanted (or probably needed) every chance I got for the past 18.8 years.
Our nest is barrels of fun.
But I couldn’t let her go without saying some things I knew she knew. (That’s what one of our jobs as mamas is, isn’t it? To beat the damnn horse until it’s dead?) I had to tell her what to look out for, what (and who) to beware of, and most importantly, I had to tell her—for the 87 millionth time—what she meant to me.
So I didn’t write one letter.
I wrote 20.
I gave her the letters at our last family dinner together the night before we took her to college, and because we’re not only loving parents but a slightly evil ones as well, we made her read them out loud.
She only made it through the first one before the tears came.
So I took over and read the rest of them aloud to her while she alternated between laughing hysterically and crying just as hard, and while her little sister and father held each other in tears.
It was a super fun night.
The letters (all 20 of them) are published today on Grown and Flown, which is a fabulous resource site for those of you with kids in high school, college, or even those of you whose nests are already empty (but with a few stray feathers still lingering about). There you’ll find informative articles on all the above stages as well as essays which convey the human side of all that we go through in the process of letting go.
I’m proud to be a contributor there today. And I’m proud to have let my letters go, in hopes that they might give a bit of comfort and laughter to others who are having to nudge their babies out of the downy, comfortable, safe nest.
So go check them out.
I promise I won’t make you read them out loud.
For other posts on my daughter’s senior year, college year and my own conflicted journey with them both…click here.
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