Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Long Pier

Letting your kid go is a lot tougher than I had imagined it would be. I'm becoming the parent I wish I'd had. I'm sure if my parents had doted on me I would have begged them to chill out a little as I entered my twenties. But the fact is, I didn't have doting parents and I'm totally unashamed to be one myself.

I don't do it on purpose. I mean, I'm not consciously saying to myself, I'm going to be to my daughter what my parents failed to be to me. I just love my daughter, that's all.

I still remember how Bonnie and I argued over whether or not to let Brandy stay home by herself as we headed off to Colorado for the 4th of July weekend. She was 16. I argued in favor and Bonnie eventually agreed, and everything turned out fine. But that wasn't guaranteed at that age.

We spend our time as parents letting our grip slip a little at a time as our children dangle off the end of a pier. Let go too soon and they could drown. Let go too late and they may never learn to swim.

What I didn't realize is that that grip becomes habitual. You could gladly dedicate yourself to your child's safety, and letting go on purpose, when you know there might be an undertow, is hardest of all.

So Brandy is spending her first night in a hotel alone a couple hundred of miles away. Bonnie and I both remind her that unsavory men are attracted to women out on their own. Brandy resists the urge to roll her eyes and gently reminds us that she knows. And I let that be enough.

I managed to call her this afternoon. She was still on the road, a little past halfway to her destination. All is good. The drive is beautiful for photography. She and I discussed how even the air is golden in the Fall.

Have a great time Brandy.