As I rambled on about this new idea I have for a book my daughter nodded absently. I tried to catch her attention with some buzz words and interesting angles. She looked up from her phone and smiled. “That sounds great, Mom” she responded and then she was gone again. I recognize that look. I recognize that tone.
I know I have said things like this; all covered in that absent tone, that false attention. I panicked a little and caught her eye again. “Can you put down your phone a minute?” I asked and she complied. “You’re not really interested in what I’m telling you, huh?” I pressed. She sighed and patted me on the back. “It’s great Mom, I’m interested.”
It isn’t that I thought she was lying. I know she is interested at some level. And I remember the when I discovered the world outside too. I remember when I went to my first party, heard my first Dead Kennedys album, drank my first beer. I remember when I became more me and less my parents. It’s exciting, being a teenager. It kind of sucks to be the parent in the scenario. I get all misty eyed and then I get a little narcissistic. Beating back thoughts like, “I used to be cool.”
This happens, this growing up thing. It seems as though we’re always letting go. That’s what we’re made to do as parents. From the moment they arrive in our household via adoption or conception, raising that child is all about teaching them to live their own lives, teaching them to live outside of our body, outside of our yard. It’s a risk, you know. A grief filled, ego crushing risk.
Be warned, I may do a lot of this wistful grieving over the next few….well, years I guess. Unless my Henry makes good on the promise he made when he was 7 or 8 to “always live in Mom’s basement” then I guess I’ll have to continue to practice letting go for a while yet.