The Tug of Apron Strings

The times are a changing.

I work with adolescents and I live with an adolescent. Trooper will be 13 in less than a week and she is turning into a woman before my very eyes. I can see her moving gently away from me with her secrets, her ideas, her hidden stories; until she creeps back for the occasional cuddle or late night chat.

She has changed her facebook status. It now reads: “In a relationship.”  Putting that up for the world to see was an heady moment for her and one she waited for. She didn’t want to go first, he had to make the statement public before her, but just seeing it up there is a rite of passage that I never had. So now she enters a new era of scorching heartbreak and searing joy. I can no more wrap her in cotton wool and smuggle her into my bed than protect her. She must tread this path alone but know that I am beside her all the way and always on her side.

A good friend who goes way back into the nether reaches of my past just signed up her daughter for kindergarten and I am sure she is feeling the tug of apron strings as her sweet baby will soon proudly don her backpack and head for the gates. We go through so many steps as parents, each one a tiny goodbye as the strings pull back and forth like a struggling and stubborn fish not wanting to be caught.

To a Daughter Leaving Home

When I taught you

at eight to ride

a bicycle, loping along

beside you

as you wobbled away

on two round wheels,

my own mouth rounding

in surprise when you pulled

ahead down the curved

path of the park,

I kept waiting

for the thud

of your crash as I

sprinted to catch up,

while you grew

smaller, more breakable

with distance,

pumping, pumping

for your life, screaming

with laughter,

the hair flapping

behind you like a

handkerchief waving

goodbye.

Linda Paston (b.1932)

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1 Comment

Filed under I have two girls

One response to “The Tug of Apron Strings

  1. Perfect part of the post: “scorching heartbreak and searing joy”…love that….

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