Thank you to Regina and Claire from Six Feet Apart Productions for having me on their storyslam last week to tell "The Produce Story". I love this story! It was one of my first to tell as a storyteller and I love it even more today as it has evolved from a daughter story to a mother story.
The time has come for me to send my oldest kid to college. In Oregon they start college really late so we feel like this has been a long time coming - and it has - but it feels like everyone is ready. AND I don't think you can ever really prepare yourself for this. There are moments in life that you can spend endless time thinking about, planning for, preparing for, shopping for, and talking about in therapy yet when it happens it just has to happen. This process has been excruciating, liberating, and enlightening for me in my own healing journey. I saw things in myself as she progressed through high school and especially as we began to plan for college - that I needed to address and hold myself accountable for healing. I'm still a work in progress and I've failed a million times but I'm way better now and so is my relationship with my kids.
Every moment of our time as parents is spent preparing to send them out to live their own lives. The relationship changes and we have to go from being the driver to being a passenger. That can be such a challenge...we are charged with healing our own wounds and reparenting ourselves so that we don't project our fears and disappointments onto them. We are charged with deciding to give them the benefit of the doubt, trusting that things will be ok for them (which is hardest when we struggle to trust that things can be ok for ourselves), trusting that it's ok for them to experience discomfort that we aren't responsible for fixing, and trusting that they can figure things out - even if their way doesn't look like our way.
If you are a survivor of trauma it can feel like your entire world is unraveling when you begin the process of sending your kid out into their independent life. Whether this comes up on the first day of middle school, the day they get their driver's license, when you find out they are having sex, when you send them to college, or the million tiny moments in between - remember that all of this is part of it. They deserve to feel safe and you have committed to being a cycle breaker so that your kids don't carry the shame, fear, and guilt that you felt.
If you struggle to feel safe as an individual in the world - parenting is literally the hardest path you can choose for yourself. You cannot expect your kids to do it for you. They are not responsible for our emotional well-being. We have to do our own work so that we can offer them the space to do theirs. You do not have to do it alone. Join us as we expand the story of what it means to be human to include us all in our perfectly imperfect truths.