Last night, we dropped our daughter off at the bus station for a trip to visit her grandmother. One day a couple of weeks ago she came downstairs and announced she had bought the tickets online.
I was excited that she would be spending time with my mom – they are both artists and really love hanging out together. But then she told me about the actual bus ride: 13 hours long, overnight, with 4 transfers along the way. I really tried to keep cool, I really did, but a gulp did escape my lips. And she heard it.
“It’ll be fine, mom,” she said with a hint of annoyance, “I’ll just sleep.”
“Uh huh…” was my witty response.
“Don’t tell anyone about how long it is,” she went on, “I don’t want to hear everyone say how bad it’s going to be and worrying about it.”
Okay, here’s the thing – my daughter is 19 years old. She has a good amount of common sense and is quite capable of handling herself. Unfortunately for her, she also has a mother who has lifted worry to an art form.
Over the last few days, my rational brain has waged war with my fertile imagination. Most of the details of this trip pushed my overprotective mom buttons, which are easily set off in the best of times. I pictured all the bus stations, conjuring up all sorts of possible situations, all of which gave me an upset stomach. Isn’t it funny that I went straight to the negative?
As my husband and I headed home from the bus station, I stared out the window, devastated. A familiar feeling of grief came over me, thinking about my daughter. At first I assumed it was fear at the idea of my daughter heading out into the night alone – that was certainly part of it. But I quickly realized there was a deeper issue bugging me.
That’s when I got a clear message – not a voice, exactly, more like a strong sense – that this week was for my daughter to go away, and also for me to let go of her. In that moment I had to admit yet again how tightly I hold on to the people I love, especially my children, and how tough that makes it for them to embrace life.
I have a feeling that this week I’ll be doing a lot of praying about this habit, this need in me to make sure everyone is safe and happy all the time. For one thing, it’s an illusion. I’ve never even had control of my own life, let alone anyhttps://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SZOO-7iqCXEone else’s. And really, who am I to think I know what’s best for anyone?
We sang the Graham Kendrick song Who Sees It All yesterday in church that says, “God sees, God knows…” and He does. He knows my daughter better than I do, that’s for sure. So I need to back off and let Him work in her, and let her take her own journey, wherever it leads.
I’m glad to say that I had enough peace to actually fall asleep last night. God provided a good friend and a warm cup of chamomile tea to soothe my nerves. And this morning as I wait for the call that she arrived safely, I need to trust God and use my imagination to picture all the fun she’s going to have this week!