My 20 year old daughter is an art major at a state university about an hour away from home. She is in her junior year. You’d think I would be used to this by now, her being away most of the time. As a matter of fact, over the last couple of years, I would tell you more often than not that the distance can be a good thing.
She was finding her independence and it was tearing me up to have her come home for a weekend and never actually have her HOME. She was instead going out with friends and, well, acting her age. Then when it was time to return to school, invariably, at some point during the drive she would sigh ‘I can’t wait to get home.’ It would sting each time she said it, but I understood what she meant. She usually realized without me even saying anything and corrected herself.
I knew, however, that she was exactly where she needed to be when she was at school. I knew that I had raised her to have her own thoughts, stand up for her beliefs and speak up for herself and those who can’t speak for themselves. I knew she had so much more growing to do that only the world could teach her.
I knew all those things yet I wasn’t truly prepared for how boldly she stood up for her beliefs, how confidently she would voice her own thoughts or how loudly she would speak up for herself and those who can’t speak for themselves. Going out into the world gave her a voice. One that, up until then, she could only hear inside of her head and didn’t dare open her mouth to use it for fear of ridicule.
She has been a part of a few protests, she voices her opinions regardless of whether she thinks you will agree or not, she refuses to let people talk down to her or her friends, whether family, friend or stranger. She is the person her friends call when they need comfort. She is becoming a very mature, strong, independent woman.
While once I would tell you that our distance can be a good thing, I don’t feel quite the same any longer. Having her around makes me smile and brings an energy to the house that it’s lacking when she’s gone. Just sitting next to her is enough to brighten my day. Her presence soothes me.
She is the promise of a new day on the horizon.
She is the color in the most brilliant sunrises.
She is my daughter.