To my Daughter Leaving Home

Dear Grace,

When you were little, before you could say “v,” you used to talk about having adwentures.  Nana wanted to get me a vanity plate for my car, actually, that said ADWENTURE.

And now you’re off on your biggest adwenture yet.

Back in the days when our adwentures took us to the Children’s Museum and the Aquarium, I had a conversation with a dear friend from college.  In that conversation, which I remember vividly, I said that my most devout hope in raising a daughter was that she grow up to be smart and brave (I might, now, add kind and thoughtful to that).  Well, you’ve exceeded every hope I ever had.  You are smart and brave, and it is those traits, along with your love of adwenture, that are propelling you on this next step.

This present is both precisely the future that I dreamed about – a brave, independent daughter, flying towards her dreams – and the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a parent.  I’ve known this day was coming – the day you would leave – since you were born.  Our family believes in boarding school so I always knew this was a distinct possibility; it was a likelihood, even. And yet it has absolutely knocked me over with how hard it is, the saying goodbye. I know you know this since you saw me tearful a lot this summer.  I am sorry about that, but I also know you know it’s the shadow side of how much I’ve loved this season.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that these years with small and then larger children at home have been my favorite of my life.  So far!  Who knows: what’s ahead may dazzle me.  I hope, and frankly sort of expect, that it will.

One thing that will never change is how much I love you.  That’s only been growing since we greeted you, with your shock of dark hair and wailing cries, after a long, long, long labor.  I will never be able to fully express to you how grateful I am that it was you that the universe decided would be my first child.  I delivered you myself, that morning of October 26, 2002, and since then, in ways big and small, we’ve felt like a team.  You’ll always be the person who made me a mother, and we’ve learned a lot together.  That’s not over now, by the way.  There’s a lot I still want to talk to you about and teach you, and vice versa.  Our reality may look different now, but I know our bond is only growing stronger.

You’ve made being a parent easy, Grace.  It hasn’t always felt smooth, but I know the bumps have been small.  Had I listed all the things you are when I described my fantasy first child, the other person would have told me I was asking for too much. You’ve surpassed every dream I had for you. You make me prouder than I can possibly put into words.

So, my brave and smart daughter, my child who is taller than I am and a full-blown young woman, I’m watching you with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart as you dash towards your newest and biggest adwenture.  You are in the woods, and I’m standing at the finish line cheering, waiting for you to emerge.

Run your own race. I say this all the time and I know you know it. Study hard, run fast, get some sleep, make some lifetime friends and connect with an amazing teacher or two. I know firsthand the power of a school like the one where you are to change your life. The years  before now have been golden, Grace, and I’ll never forget them.  I’m just as sure that what lies ahead will be wonderful.  Hold my hand, and let’s go.

I love you, and I always will, and I am truly excited to watch you fly.



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  1. Matt M
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Beautifully done.

  2. Nadine
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    <3 I love this letter, and even more so the bond you two have created. It's something I aspire to.

  3. Trish
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    beautiful. well written. well done.

  4. Posted September 19, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous. You’ve given her such a strong base from which to grow and flourish, and I know she’s given you so much in return. May this next season be a happy and memorable one for you both.

  5. Posted September 19, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous and true, like the two of you.

  6. Posted September 19, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I made it through this without crying thinking of my own kids. But just barely.

  7. Posted September 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh geez. Lots of tears here. Sending hugs to you!

  8. Posted September 20, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    An insanely beautiful, poignant letter. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Posted September 20, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Beautiful and fierce, like you – and like Grace. Love to you, Lindsey. xo

  10. Posted September 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Darling, you have a way with words that makes me tear up with the emotions coursing through them, as surely as a heartbeat. Love this. Your love for your kids and your family is evident.

  11. Posted September 24, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink