We just got back from Pismo Beach. The Central Coast of California is so beautiful, the rolling hills, the beautiful beaches, there is a lot to like about it. If you haven't been to this region, it is definitely worth seeing. Krista and I went up the coast for her to see Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, on our way home we looked at UC Santa Barbara. This is part of the process. The letting go process. Ironically, Father of The Bride was on tv last night as I began this posting. It is such a sweet movie. As Steve Martin goes through the process of acknowledging his little girl is all grown up, I can't help but chuckle inside about the similarities in my own life, and getting ready to send our youngest off to school. Synchronisitic.
I am reminded of getting to meet my husband's Italian cousins a few years ago, when they came to town on vacation. Ry was 17 and a year from heading off to school. Karl's cousin was so excited to share with his wife that we would be sending our son off at 18. His wife was horrified. She said, "He is just a baby! How will you do this?"
At the time I smiled and said, "This is pretty normal here. It is how we do it."
She replied, "Our son will not leave the house until he marries in his late 20's, maybe even into his 30's! I can't imagine letting him go any sooner."
Flash to a year later, (how does time pass so quickly?) as my own son went off to college, I couldn't help but remember that conversation with Karl's cousin and his wife. I felt pretty silly about my then confident reply. Thinking back on how sure I was that it would be easy to let my first born move away, and living through the experience of it were two different things.
My brother in law, who is a new father, recently asked me how I will be with Krista heading off soon. I told him I thought it would be okay, but I just really didn't know. Certainly I have tried to feel into this potentiality, and try as I might, I just can't. As we were driving up through Los Angeles for a brief stretch on the road, I felt myself move through the first hints of getting ready to let Krista go. A wave of grief washed over me, as I realized she will be making this drive on her own before too long, going to and from school. Aha. So there it is. The grief, just a smidgen of it peeking out. What will it really be like? I have no idea.
During the two years Ry has been away, he has moved further away in some ways, and closer in others. Our relationship has changed, it has grown, become richer and deeper, and yet it is clear he doesn't need me. He even wants to consult with me less. Ouch. That hurts. And yet, he is happy, self confident, doing well in school, happily in a loving relationship with an adorable girlfriend. I couldn't ask for more, and I wouldn't want to take any of that away from him. So that said, as I stand in this in between space with Krista, I find myself treasuring every interaction, the giggles we have, the insight she surprises me with, the passion she shares about different subjects. The woman she has become. Wow. I wouldn't want to get in the way of this.
Just as Steve Martin learns to get on board with his daughter's joy in her engagement and wedding planning, I am getting on board with releasing Krista. It is not always easy. I might not always be graceful, but I am doing my best to follow her lead. After all, I have done this once before. With great success. Well, mostly. I can do this again. It is the most loving thing I can do.