As my daughter, Malia’s, sixteenth birthday approached, I had many people asking me if I was sad or upset. That getting her driver’s license somehow symbolized her leaving the nest more so than any other milestone. But, I wasn’t upset. I was actually really excited for her (and not just because it means less driving for me!). It’s the same excitement as I felt when she took her first steps or the first time I saw her coming down the mountain on a snowboard. There is something exhilarating as you watch your child experience the joy of feeling independent and free. Yes, it is one step closer for her leaving for college. However, it has been one step closer each day since the doctor let my husband cut the umbilical cord 16 years ago and he exclaimed, “It’s like cutting squid!”
Part of a mindfulness practice is focusing on the moment at hand. Embracing it. Feeling it. Being there 100% and not worrying about the future. Meditation helps us become more mindful of each moment. And it IS a practice. In my 20’s I spent countless hours worrying about whether or not I would meet the right person, get married, and have kids. It was a lot of wasted energy! Michael J. Fox, the actor who has Parkinson’s disease, was asked repeatedly if he was worried about the future after his diagnosis. I loved his response, “I don’t spend a lot of time imagining the worst case scenario. It rarely goes down as you imagine it will, and if by some fluke it does, you will have lived it twice.”
So, it’s the same for thinking about my children leaving the nest. I don’t—or at least I try not to. I know they will leave one day and I will live it when that day comes. So, for this moment right now, I am going to enjoy and celebrate their steps towards independence with them and take all the hugs I can get in the process!