You know what's hard? It's hard when I see my daughter, heart of my own heart, leaving what is safe and sure to leap into the unknown. She's telling me about her plans, and I listen, and inside, I'm thinking, "No. Oh. Eeeeek. Don't do that. The road you've been traveling up to know has worked out well for you...what do you want to risk screwing that up for?" But I bite my tongue, and out loud, I simply say, "Well, what's your back up plan if this one doesn't work out?" I listen carefully, but keep my opinions to myself, because the girl is not asking me what to do. She is telling me what she is going to do.
She is on the brink of flight. She is taking off in her own direction. It will be a different direction than I have traveled in my own life. I chose, and I chose poorly at times. I married who I shouldn't have. And then there were children who became the most important thing in my life, because that is what mothers do. My own needs became secondary to theirs. I know that some disagree with that, but I feel like my right to choose my path came secondary to what was best for my children. And so my life's decisions were based on them, not me. Don't get me wrong. Life has worked out for me. I am married to a smart man, a good man. We have provided to the best of our abilities for all of our children. Now when it should be our turn, we got turned around by cancer. Now those uncertainties guide our choices. We are making the safe choices, the ones that lead to security. It's just the way that my life has been lived. I'm happy enough, and I still find plenty of joy in my quiet corner of the world.
It will be different for my daughter. She will not pick safety over adventure, security over a new experience. That is her way. She is intelligent, and she is gifted, and she will choose her own way. My job is not to hold her back. I cannot quite bring myself to encourage her to take these leaps of faith, but I speak quietly, and watch carefully, reminding myself of this: the worst thing that could happen is that she would fail, and if she fails, there will be someone who loves her to help her stand back up and dust herself off, and get ready for the next big flight.