Two friends of mine, amazing women, mothers, and nurses both, just said goodbye to their only daughters this week. The late-teen daughters set off around the globe on adventures in two countries, one in Asia and one in Europe. One daughter will be gone for one year and one for four years, both to study.
Both my friends are so excited for their daughters, proud, worked to make this happen. It's a testament to their parenting that their daughters have become the smart, confident, capable and inquisitive young women that they are, heading off to explore the larger world and realize their dreams. But it's hard. The daughters are dearly missed.
Now, I don't happen to have any daughters, myself. But I am a daughter, and I remember setting off on my own study abroad adventure many years ago. I remember the dismay in my mom's face as she said "China? Are you sure?...Will I ever see you again?"
But she let me go in the end, with encouragement, love, air mail envelopes (no internet then) and long underwear. Thankfully, my friends and their daughter now have Skype and email, as well as long underwear. And always, love and encouragement.