The house is quiet. The daughters have all left, returning to their respective schools and the lives they are creating for themselves. These departures remain one of the hardest parts of parenting—the constant letting go. The departure of children is a melancholy thing, for the ache of missing those one loves so greatly is real, but it is pain tempered by the pride one has in the people these young women have become and the shared excitement for futures that are vibrant and full.
At the best moments the brightness of their potential becomes nearly infectious and I believe in the possibilities of my future too, one made more conceivable by their presence within it, even if an altered participation, one featuring adults come into their own. There is joy in watching their lives unfold, despite the knowledge that they will face heartache and indecision in moments along the way to rewarding lives. You can’t protect children forever, although every parent wishes to try, no more than you can protect oneself from the empty space when they are not in one’s immediate presence. The distances are a bit greater, the quiet more disconcerting, but adventure awaits—for them and for their parents as we step uncertainly onto that path that grants entrance into the unknown future.