COMMENTARY: The Elephant In The Middle Of The Room

My kid's senior year of high school

Last year, my daughter and I couldn’t have these conversations, but this year we can and I’m grateful that she is in a more mature place where we can do that.

She starts off her senior year tomorrow at . And I realize we’re behind in this whole choosing a college and trying to decide the rest of her life thing that we’ve been talking about for months now.

I’m wondering if she knows how important this year is to the rest of her life; if she’ll choose a college that will challenge her enough; if she’ll have the courage to work through problems; if she’ll use her stubbornness to her benefit when it comes to her beliefs; if she’ll use her curiosity and humility to examine her own thoughts, words and actions; if she’ll acknowledge her shortcomings and translate them into successes.

Still, I fear for her in so many ways that when I think about it too much, I realize how much I still want to control everything. Sigh…. There is so much that I can’t fix or decide for her. But I can listen to her fears, and offer suggestions. I can set boundaries, and offer my love, support and concern.

I can tell our relationship is changing, as it always does every few years.

So we’ve been talking a lot about schools, careers, dreams, and life as an adult.

I told her we need to visit a number of schools (and yes we probably should have done that last year, but I refer back to my opening sentence), and find a place where you can continue to grow as a person. I told her, “You don’t have to know every detail of what your life will become, but let yourself dream.”

That’s the hard part about being a senior and I have to remind myself how scary this growing up stuff is so that when I talk to my kid, she doesn’t have to deal with my anxiety too.

Anyway, it’s hard stuff. We’ve been through quite a bit and I have to say that every day I see the seeds of adulthood taking root. It’s the little things that I see – her putting in reminders for herself in her cell phone, writing down to do lists, listening a little more, calling me to check in, making sure to be home early on the days she has to work, going to youth group, being a good friend and spending time with family.

So as she heads off to school tomorrow, I am reminded of a sign my mom bought for me that says: “There are two things you give your children: the first is roots, the other is wings.”

I want to say, Katheryn Faith, I love you. I believe in you. Don’t give up. You are an incredible young woman. You are a beautiful child of God who is capable of great things.

And I am grateful that I get to be your mom.

Gary Kunich August 31, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Very nice, and touching love letter to your daughter.


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