I remember being in high school, and having such intense feelings about my accomplishments, my setbacks and my relationships. The world could be the most amazing place, and the place I wanted to escape more than anything, all in one day. As crazy as those ups and downs were to experience, they were nothing compared to watching your child go through them. It's twice as euphoric, and twice as painful.
My daughter is almost 18, and has been making some very difficult and important decisions for her life. She is so much smarter than I was at 18. She can see the big picture, and knows what she needs to do in order to make the most of her life. In this case it means going to college all the way across the country. Such a difficult and brave decision. She has to say goodbye to family, friends and even a boyfriend. She has already begun to say some of these goodbyes. She and her boyfriend decided to break up now, rather than wait a few months down the road when they will physically be parting. I realize that this must be excruciating for her. I want to be mommy and kiss it and make it better like I used to, but I know this will no longer do the trick. So I gave her the one thing that makes me feel even just a little better in bad times. A little retail therapy.
I know what you might be thinking... buying things is not the answer. What am I teaching her? I thought about that too. But it's not really about the things in the brightly colored shopping bags that we were collecting that day. It was about the conversations in the car to and from the mall, which is a good 45 minutes from my house. It was about laughing at the clothes we both found ugly, and the excitement we felt when we found that cute pair of jeans in her size. It was the anticipation we both felt about her going to college when we talked about what kinds of clothes she will wear when she starts school in the Fall. The shopping isn't an answer or a fix, but for this day, it helped us both feel a little better.
I can't believe my daughter is turning 18, and will soon be off to college. This is the way she will always look in my eyes. She is one of the very best parts of my life, and I would do anything for her.
Even let her go. I will be there whenever she needs me, and we can take on all of life's troubles, one shopping trip at a time.