I watch as my teenage daughter walks out of our garage to head for school.
She drives herself now, packs her own lunch, and does it all on her own.
I stand in my doorway, watching her tall frame move farther away from me.
And I wonder….
Have I loved her enough?
Have I built up her self-esteem so she can handle whatever the world throws at her today?
Does she know that she has value? Does she recognize her potential? Does she understand that she is worthy–of respect, consideration, and love?
Did I do enough to make her feel confident to say no to the wrong things, but more importantly, yes to the right ones?
Did I spend enough time teaching her to be kind and inclusive? Did I spend enough time teaching her what to do when people are not kind and inclusive?
Will she remember what’s important when the time comes to choose?
Will she remember she can come to me when she makes a mistake?
Did I teach her how to stand up for herself? Did I teach her how to be assertive? Did I teach her not to give up on her dreams?
Have I loved her enough?
These are the thoughts that swirl around my mind each and every time I watch her walk outside of our home and into the chaotic world beyond my control.
Time is moving so quickly lately that sometimes it takes my breath away. There are so many things I want to tell her, so many things left to do.
But her life is so full of school and sports and activities, so full of friendships and TikToks and selfies, so full of learning how to drive and college tours and talking about what her plans are next.
And I wonder, have I loved her enough?
There are so many things we want to teach our teens before they fly the nest.
It’s the big things, like teaching her how to put her mental health first and knowing how to spot a toxic relationship.
But it’s also the little life skills I want her to master, like how to get a stain out of her favorite shirt and what’s the secret ingredient in our homemade chocolate sauce.
And as I feel that time is slipping through an hourglass, I feel desperate to teach her everything I want her to know, desperate for my love to shield her from the world for just one more day.
Even when we know our teens are ready to fly, it’s still hard to let them go.
As I watch her walk out the door, my heart trails behind her, like one of those clipped tags on her gigantic backpack. Her steps are confident, and her head is held high.
At the last moment, before she leaves, she turns around and flashes that beautiful smile that makes my heart skip a beat every time.
And I’ll always question if I’ve loved her enough to face this world, but I know I’ve loved her as much as any mother can.
*This article originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page at Whitney Fleming Writes.
We love this empowering self-love journal for teen girls. Check it out here.
Are you in the thick of raising your tweens and teens? You may like this book by Whitney Fleming, the co-owner of Parenting Teens & Tweens: Loving Hard When They’re Hard to Love: Essays about Raising Teens in Today’s Complex, Chaotic World.
Parenting teens and tweens is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Here are some other posts parents found helpful:
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