We traveled to Iowa last weekend to visit my daughter who is working for a consulting company out there. She has been living in an apartment, come home of holidays, etc. - emotionally it felt like she was still in college.
One of the purposes of this visit was to look at a house she is buying. Emotionally that DIDN'T feel like she was in college. This had and has a feeling of permanence, of "OK, I am staying out here". It didn't hit me too hard during the weekend because we were running around and trying to get a bunch of things done. However, as I settled in last night to my weekly routine, I began to emotionally understand that my daughter has not only moved out, she has grown up.
This did not come as a surprise for me, but it sure sneaked up on me. Part of why this is challenging is that you always wonder if you have done enough as a parent to prepare them to live in the world; to live successfully in the world. Did you show them love enough, did you teach them enough, did you spend enough time with them, did you release them appropriately, did they know that you loved them, did you mess them up too bad, etc.
This is the hard thing about parenting. There is no coasting. Coasting means slowing down and coming to a stop. You never speed up when you are coasting. You never get to your destination if you just coast. You have to drive; intentionally set a direction and put energy toward it.
I hope that I did that enough; I hope that I am doing that enough (I still have three more to go through this phase).