HOW TO LET GO OF A GROWN CHILD
Don’t call her every night just to check in.
Don’t cancel plans waiting for her to call.
Don’t drive past her apartment at midnight
to see if her car is in the driveway.
Paint over purple walls in her old bedroom.
Use primer, three thick coats in a neutral color.
Peel plastic “starry night” off bedroom ceiling.
Remove school photos from wall and mantel.
Put them in box with dance award certificates.
Eat the ice cream sundaes with caramel topping
and whipped cream you’ve avoided for twenty
years of setting good examples.
Give up thinking each time you decide on a date,
I wonder how my daughter would feel about it.
Avoid Junior’s Departments in clothing stores.
Ignore second pair half off sales on low rise jeans.
Write down your regrets. Fold into an airplane.
Throw it off a bridge.
Author’s comment: I raised my daughter, an only child, by myself. We enjoyed an extremely close relationship although she did rebel a fair amount. When she moved out three years ago, I had a terrible case of “empty nest syndrome”. Until I met the man who is now my husband, I was very lonely without her. I am embarrassed to admit that a few points I made in the poem were real. My daughter and I still talk on the phone nearly every day.
Love this, Lynn. I am a mother of a sixteen year old daughter. I am going to come back to this poem again and again.
Thank you. That means a lot.
I have two “boys” in college now, one about to graduate. I do all of these things (more or less), but I’m still wondering when it will “feel” like we have started to let go.
This is wonderful. I’m the mother of a 2.5-year-old…hard to imagine this stage of life, but reading your poem makes it feel real and alive.