Something Heartbreaking Is Happening Behind My Daughter’s Bedroom Door

Something heartbreaking is happening behind my daughter's bedroom door.

Something unbelievable is happening in my daughter’s bedroom.

Behind a closed door.

I know what she’s doing in there.

Something big.

Something heartbreaking.

Something totally expected.

Daughter is packing for college.

I want to run in there 1,425 times an hour.

“Have you thought about…?”

“Have you considered…?”

I stop myself mid-knock outside her door.

I’m determined not to be that parent.

Have you seen them?

There is a special Facebook page for parents of students going to the same university as my daughter.

The posts boggle my mind.

“I don’t like who they matched my son with for a roommate.”

“My daughter’s dorm is too far for my poor baby to walk to class.”

“Which is the right ruler to get for my son’s architecture class?”

It makes me wonder if these fellow parents are sending kids off to college or kindergarten.

“Won’t be them. Won’t be them,” I repeat my mantra, only too aware I’m having similar impulses.

Instead, I pick up my phone to distract my thoughts.

Scroll through the pretty pictures of Instagram.

I spot an artist friend of mine.

I love watching her work.

And how she shares her process.

“A few more tweaks and it’s almost done,” she commented about her latest multi-media work.

I, who know nothing about art,

Am intrigued.

“How do you know?” I ask in her comment section. “How do you know when you’re done?”

This question bounces around my brain as I hear daughter banging and clanging.

How do you know when you’re done with anything, Dear Reader?

With a painting?

A relationship?

A job?

How do you know when you’re done with parenting?

“A mother’s work is never done,” you might suggest.

Perhaps not.

But it needs to change.

This I know.

A few hours later, a response from my artist friend holds some clues.

“Usually, I need to step away for a while and go back with fresh eyes. There’s a feeling when things bother me, and I continue to tweak, or a feeling that I’ve completed what I’m hoping to express.  It’s something I wrestle with daily. I’m not sure if it helps.”

Indeed, it does.

It’s time to enter the “Tweaking” phase of parenting.

Daughter leaving in a couple weeks will be a chance to step away.

To see her with new eyes.

When I see little things that bother me, I will tweak.

I will speak up.

I will guide.

I’m sure, like my artist friend, I’ll struggle with this daily.

I’ll try to remember that I’ve completed what I was hoping to express.

That she is loved.

Oh, how Daughter is loved.

That her dad and I have her back.

Always.

And with that I must hand over the paint brush.

This is now Daughter’s canvas,

To create,

To make beautiful,

To mess up.

To make her own.

Her college is 500 miles away.

Husband suggests this means we will not see her every night?

Can this true?

I think I’ll go post on that Parents Facebook page and ask what we can do to change this part of the freshman college experience.

She's packing up to leave any day. Meanwhile, she humors me with letting me hold her too close and take an occassional selfie.

She’s packing up to leave any day. Meanwhile, she humors me with letting me hold her too close and take an occassional selfie.

((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)))

And if you enjoy this column about parenting, you might enjoy my book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover

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Something Heartbreaking Is Happening Behind My Daughter’s Bedroom Door

by DarynKagan time to read: 3 min
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