My daughter left a couple notes at their house for us when my husband and I stayed there recently. They were out of town but she made us feel so welcome.
I brought home one note and kept it on the kitchen counter for weeks, laughing at myself for treasuring it so. It said,
“Hi Guests! :) Hope you enjoy your stay. Eat anything you want. Love you!”
I kept thinking how silly I was to cherish it; I should throw it out. Why did it mean so much to me anyway? But I think I’ve figured it out.
That short note represents a job well done. We have come to a turning point in our relationship – from mother and child at home; to a grown daughter visiting as a guest in my home. And now the next step: we are guests in their home. The phrases I have always used, “Eat anything/use anything you want” now echo back to me in an open-hearted welcome from her.
Looking around at their pictures and décor while we were there, I got a strong sense of who they are as a couple and my heart swelled. I am proud that they have a place of their own and are making their way in the world. Their love for each other is evident; it echoes in every room, from the blending of their personal treasures, to notes and reminders on the refrigerator.
That is what I raised my daughter for, to be grown up. And while I miss her and hunger for more details about her life, I wouldn’t want to pull her back into childhood. This is good and right.
When she calls me just to connect I feel privileged and warmed. I love hearing about everything – her thoughts, feelings, goals, excitement, and concerns. And she is starting to show interest in mine as well - a true sign that she is indeed an adult.
Call me sentimental, but I think I’ll keep this note from my daughter the hostess in my journal, along with other treasures of my heart. It is a rite of passage that I cannot help but tuck away for safekeeping.
Beth Vice, February 2010