I've spent the past month getting ready for the RWA National Conference.... wait.... stop... Nope. Wish I could say I have been diligently planning for this very important trip. After all, I've got an editor and an agent to pitch, workshops to attend, people to meet, and celebrating to anticipate.
However, I've been distracted by a very important thing: my teenager! She's graduating in a year. This means touring colleges, narrowing down pros and cons of attending the colleges she's most interested in, and discussing various majors/minors of study whilst realizing that old dreams must be set aside to make room for new dreams and a new journey.
My daughter is at the cusp of her adult life. She's getting ready to explore her future, her world, her life as a citizen of the world. We've had her with us for almost 17 years (18 if you count the 9 month pregnancy) and now a very important part of my world is changing, morphing into a new direction. And right now, as we go through this transition, I want to be available to my daughter. I also want to be with my daughter. I know this next year will fly all too fast. After all, the past 16 have been a mere blink in my eye.
Here's a brief overview:
*from infertile to carrying a precious child
*her sweet, bubbly personality shining through from day one
*her first steps in a onesie after tearing through a pile of newspapers
*my best friend from Holland and I folding clothes in the kitchen while dreaming about who our daughters will be in 15 years. Those years have flown.
*singing Disney tunes, playing with dolls, stuffed animals, puppet shows, dancing, singing, laughing
*bumps, scary hospital visits, bones needing mending, emotions bursting
*school, Kindergarten, friends, world expanding, traveling, seeing much, doing more
*tall, gorgeous, self-driven, long legged and somewhat klutzy despite her years of dance teenager
*smart, funny, giving, empathetic, gifted, goofy, lovable human being
Why? Why do we have to raise our children to let them leave us? I just want to enjoy her. So yes, I haven't been a 100% focused on my "desperately seeking publication" goals. I admit it freely. I've written. I've written a lot. For it is in writing that I find solace, an escape from the reality I must accept as a mom.
And I've been shopping. Bought lots of clothes. With my teen at my side helping me squeeze into dresses for the gala events. I've been building more memories, making more time for laughter with my girl amidst preparing for my travels. Sure, I've stolen moments to work out my schedule for the conference, my pitches are "done" enough, and I'm excited about meeting all my friends in NYC. The conference will be great.
But underlying all my little plans for my world, there is a band pulling around my heart and squeezing ever so tight as I anticipate the very real and necessary goodbye I will face in a year. Sending my daughter into the world will be the greatest, most difficult thing I have ever done.
However, the pain of letting her go is lessened by the joy of seeing her soar. And in learning how to send my very real baby into the world, I have gained the added lesson of having the strength to send my fictional babies out into the world, too.
And I hope that my example of perseverance and diligence will be the flame that my daughter carries into her adult life.