Monday, August 27, 2007

The Gift of Days

I have not been as active writing of late, since our daughter has been visiting with us. As she has now returned to England, I am mulling over this brief respite of time with her. And a phrase comes to me to describe our time together: we have had the gift of days.

There is a bittersweet quality to this time together. As her parents, we have many times let go of our daughter’s hand so she can seek her own place in the world.

When she went to college, we left her at her dorm with mixed emotions—leaving her, hoping it was a good choice of a college. Then in six weeks when we visited for a weekend, it was very clear that she was NOT happy—that the college and she were NOT a good fit.

So after that semester was completed, we let her go again—this time to go to London to work for 6 months. And, of course, she came back to attend a new college—this time, a perfect fit for her emerging interests.

There was another time of leaving her go, when she did a semester abroad in Glasgow. The bonus was that we had the occasion to visit with her in Scotland.

When she was finished with college, we let go once more so she could begin her career in New York City.

And now she has gone, back to London, this time to be with her fiancé and to attend graduate school. Of course, we will visit her (and her fiancé). Very soon!

These days together have been sweet. And it is wonderful to see how much she is her own person. But, then, she was that from practically the moment she was born. And, not surprisingly, I see two versions of her in my mind’s eye—the wonderful grown woman, and the very self-willed little girl.

Thank you, dear daughter, for the gift of days.

Here’s a lovely little poem about moments such as these:

To a Daughter Leaving Home

By Linda Pastan

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving


Denise said...

Oh, Donna – this was beautiful. You brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad you had some time with Kristen. Time with grown children is a much-appreciated gift.

Anvilcloud said...

Letting go is so necessary but so hard, but it's good to have a reason to travel to London, eh?

cat59 said...

What a wonderful poem. A parent teaching a child to ride a bike seems almost universal--is it true in other countries? It is also wonderful that you and your daughter enjoy each other's company and cherish your time together.

Cathy said...

Oh Donna -

You can see the self-sufficiency on her lovely face. She must bring such joy to your lives.

That poem is one of the best I've read in a long time. Achingly wonderful. Thanks.

Ruth said...

Beautifully written post that I can relate to. Hope you get many more gifts of days in the future.

Jean said...

Sweet - and what a darling couple they make! It's empty when they leave after visiting but at least our kids come home - some don't:)

Rhonda said...

*sniff* I'm currently living the poem, having recently (within the last year) helped both my girls learn to ride a bike.

I can't imagine/don't want to think about them leaving home, but I know it will happen all too soon.

I will cherish my gift of days with them.

Mauigirl said...

Hi KGMom, thanks for your comment on my blog!

This was a touching post - love the poem. One of my best friends just sent her firstborn, her son, off to college this week. I am sure she would identify with it. I don't have kids myself but I can certainly relate! I've watched many of my friends' kids grow up from infants to adulthood in the past 20 years. It's amazing how fast the time goes.

Laurie said...

Your post and the poem are especially meaningful to me today as my son moves into his first house...3 states away.


TomCat said...

Hi Kgmom. First thanks for your visit and comment at Politics Plus.

Your relationship with your daughter leads me to believe that you are both very fortunate to have each other.

Mary said...

I share your feelings - here at the office - all teary-eyed and trying to find a Kleenex. Thanks for this lovely post. Have you made your flight arrangements yet? :o)

Trixie said...

You have raised a lovely daughter. Good work, Momma.

Grace, Every Day said...

I'll be in your shoes soon enough - thanks for this beautiful description of what lies ahead. You are blessed!

nina said...

I know how hard it is to have children leave home. My 2 are on their own now, one married last summer, one engaged to be married next summer.
And although it is always hard to separate, seeing their faces and knowing everything is "right" with them is all I need, for if they are happy, I am, too.

Lynne said...

Oh Donna, this post really hit home with me today. We went to my 14 yr old daughter's HS open house last night. She went from an 8th grade class of 26 at a small Catholic k-8 school to a 9th grader in a class of nearly 200. Though I know in my heart she's ready, it's just so hard for me to hand her the wheel and watch her go.
Loved the poem.
Your daughter is lovely.

Pam said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. The gift of days, how beautifully put. And I like the poem very much.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Life is unfolding as it should for both you and your daughter. You have reason to be very proud.

Trish said...

What a beautiful post! I love the way you phrased "the gift of days". That will stay with me for a long time! My oldest is turning 13 in a few months and I keep telling him I've decided that he will just stay 12 forever -- what's a number? Who says we have to count? He laughs...but time marches on. Thank you for a lovely post!

mon@rch said...

It's great having some time off and what a better way to spend it as with your family!

Climenheise said...

I kept waiting, hoping that I would get to make the 20th comment -- and here I am! I have some idea of what you describe. Time together with our adult children, as fellow adults and still as our children, is special indeed.