Waving goodbye to my daughter at John F. Kennedy Airport was one of the more gut-wrenching experiences of my life. Not just any airport, I was dropping her off at one of the most-traveled intersections on the world.
If I could have stayed to see her off, to be certain that she made it on the flight, I would have. But, as luck would have it, my own flight was to take off from LaGuardia Airport a scant hour after hers. All I could do was to watch her check her bags curbside, give her one last precious hug, and watch her walk away through the glass doors.
There was little concrete reason to worry, but it was the idle, nameless fears that had my stomach in knots.
Would she make it on the flight? Would her flight make it to her destination? Would her grandmother meet her flight? And what will happen in a month on an island full of sun-kissed teenage boys?
And then there is the fear that I hesitate to name: would this experience signal a new independence, a severing of the apron strings?
It is inevitable, I know. With each necessary step toward independence, my daughter takes a step away from me and toward the wide-open vista of adulthood.
I would not halt this progress; instead choosing to encourage her toward becoming the fierce woman that she is meant to be.
No, I would not hold her back, but I will take a moment to acknowledge that I miss the closeness that we once shared when every waking moment, and many nights as well, my daughter was a fixture on my hip or breast.
That was a long time ago, practically another lifetime ago.
Today, I’m in transit, headed to a conference of my peers, taking a step toward my own independence, because, you know, there is no expiration date on becoming the woman that I was meant to be.