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Letting Go

Hannah has started dating. In fact, she officially has a boyfriend. They’ve been “going out” for a few weeks but had only been seeing each other at school until this past weekend when he asked her to go to a party with him. Dale and I told her this was fine so long as he came to pick her up and we got to meet him.

So he came to pick her up last Friday night. I shook his hand, Dale shook his hand. He was very polite and respectful. And then they left.

After they left all I could think about was when Hannah was a toddler and moved from a crib into a bed. Suddenly I didn’t know for sure where she was all the time. Up until then I would put her in her crib and she would stay there until I came and let her out. Once she was in a bed all bets were off – she could get out on her own and wander around the house. It was a very unsettling feeling.

And that’s just how I felt on Friday night. Suddenly I didn’t know for sure where she was. And I certainly didn’t know for sure what she was doing. I know this is the part where I let her go and trust that she’ll do the right thing and remember everything I’ve taught her. It’s harder than I thought it would be, though.

I might have to start drinking more.

This Post Has 72 Comments

  1. Carole, I know exactly how you feel. By this point in her life, Hannah is going to do what the values you and Dale have instilled in her tell her. I told my daughter that even though I wasn’t always going to like where she was, please call and tell me where she was. She always called, and we as parents did not judge her. She has become a lovely, delightful and articulate young lady, now 24. She still calls by the way!

  2. We’re about eight months ahead of you, and it is EXACTLY like the crib to toddler bed transition! It helped for us to tell our DD the “We trust you but don’t necessarily trust tangible reality to treat you well” speech again. She carries her cell phone and enough cash to get home via cab (phone number programmed in the phone). The two things I fuss about are parental chaperones and who is driving. DH enforces the dress code in a Coach Dad kind of way, “Sweetie, you look like a slut — go put on a longer skirt!” We try to be consistent and say the same things whether she’s going out with a BF or a bunch of girls.

    Her first BF has become an extra son for us. We adore him. Of course, they broke up after six months, but they’re still friends. I am trying to remain calm as I daydream about who will be next…!

    I’m with Martha. And have Dale wear his uniform, too.

  3. haha i love martha’s suggestion!

    she’s a smart girl and i bet she’s picked herself a good kid. glad i’m not a parent though. i worry when i let the cat out!

  4. I have been there, although with boys the worry is different. It’s still worry, though. You raised her right, now it’s time to let her test her wings (with a cell phone and cab fare home in her pocket). Let her know that the most dangerous thing she could do — aside from weird drugs, which she isn’t gonna do anyway — is get into a car with a driver she doesn’t know or who is impaired. Anything else she can recover from.

    Keep knitting, like EZ said. It will keep you sane. Take it easy on the booze — you are setting an example, you know 😉

  5. Knitting has brought me such comfort – no matter what is troubling me, it just seems to fade a little when I pick up my needles. Also it doesn’t hurt to pamper yourself a bit, facials do wonders for my spirit and I try to indulge in the a few times a year. You’ve received so many thoughtful comments above that I’m sure you’ll be able to apply some of it or derive comfort from them.

  6. I’m sending sympathy, but with the full knowledge that, since I don’t have kids of my own, I can’t really appreciate how you feel… but I’m trying!

  7. She is your child. She is smart enough to remember how she was raised and to know how to behave. She’ll do just fine.

    Dale threatened the boy, right? Next time he comes over, Dale should be cleaning a musket. Just sayin’…

  8. We have the backhoe on order. Moat goes in once we’ve finished the gun turrets. Keep the syrah on tap, and I’ll get our blueprints faxed right to ya!


  9. I so understand this! I just about gave myself a panic attack not to long ago with thoughts of “did I do this right?”. My son is a senior this year, and all the getting ready for college stuff is starting to really freak me out. The dating stuff was just a drop in the bucket of the oh my-he really is a big boy now.

  10. Congratulations on her first date and your coping. She’s such a pretty girl I think you’d better get used to it. Just don’t remember what it was like when you were that age. It might get really scarey. Right now my 13 year old granddaughter thinks she wants to date (I can’t imagine who?) But it ain’t gonna happen!!! (Her dad and mom said that too, thank goodness!). Where does the time go?

  11. my eldest daughter will turn 14 in april. i’ll turn 30 next week. (waiting for y’all to do the math). . . yeah. i worry. her best friend was bragging about having had ‘the talk’ with her mom. Summer told her “i’ve had the talk so much, i have it memorized!” YES!!! that was the goal! so that when she ended up in any situation, she would have information ready from which to pull. now i have to trust that she will use the information i gave her to make decisions that will make me proud. that is all we can do. we teach them and they make the decisions. let go with your arms, hold on with your heart. and enable gps tracking on her cellphone. and a spy camera. . .

  12. My daughter is now 22 so I’ve sort of been through all this myself. You just have to be there for them when they need you. Looks like your daughter is smart and self confident and that always goes a long way!

  13. Oh, the not knowing is so hard! Believe it or not, it’s hard with sons as well as daughters. I don’t think it’s possible, as loving parents, to ever stop worrying. Hannah is a beautiful young lady and I’ll bet she will make wise choices.

  14. We’ve been putting off changing The Boy’s crib into a bed for this exact reason. I’m so afraid. What if he gets out of bed and falls down the stairs, what if he goes into another room and I can’t hear him on the monitor and he needs something, what if he comes into my room and tries to wake me up and I hurt him thinking that he’s someone else, what if he just plays all night and doesn’t sleep… what if, what if….

    Don’t even get me started on potty training.

  15. My ‘baby’ started dating a year ago. Just wait until Hannah plucks some cashmere out of your stash to knit a Xmas gift for BF and then later, breaks up with him. That’s what happened here. My DD survived the break up just fine…. I’m still mourning the loss of that skein of cashmere…. But, on the other hand if losing a skein of coveted yarn is the only thing I have to complain about in regard to this dating thing… then I’m doing pretty well.

    Next time I’m supervising the stash diving more closely. I wish I could supervise the BF choices more closely…. but so far she’s doing OK in that area.

  16. Ha, I remember thinking that with our boys just recently (18 and 21). Even after they could drive, they checked in with us constantly and they never left the house without letting us know where they were. Over time, esp. since they’ve left for school, that’s changed of course. Over the summer I realized I often didn’t know where the 19 yo was (not that he was ever doing anything terribly exciting). Suddenly he has a life that goes on independently of ours.


    I wonder if it will be harder with a daughter than it was with sons. Not looking forward to finding out!

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