As mothers (and as a mother), I believe in "rights of passage" and I don't believe in living vicariously through our children. 


Allow me to explain.


I believe that at some point children will grow old enough to attend school without their mothers shedding tears of sorrow. That, as a mother, you can get through an entire day without calling said school a half dozen times "just to make sure everything is okay." 


I believe that at some point your sons and daughters have the right to choose what they will wear out of the house (within reason, of course) and how they will wear their hair. I believe the choice of post-high school education (whether to attend or not and if so, where) is also the decision of your children. And I believe that one day, every child must grow up and "leave the nest."


The problem arises when we, as mothers, have lived vicariously through our children, negating our own lives, forgetting there was ever a father in the equation of one plus one equals three, and in thinking we should keep them home for the rest of their lives. Many is the time I've heard my daughter (a mother herself) balk when I tell my granddaughter (her daughter), "One day, when you have your own little girl..."


"No, no, no," my daughter quickly says. She then directs her words to my granddaughter. "Boys have cooties. Stay away from them." She laughs, but I wonder if she remembers her own days of "flew the coop."


When our youngest daughter-now 21-announced that she had found a "really nice apartment" and was ready to move out, my initial reaction was one of rejoicing. Now, before you judge me, hear me out.  This is, I said to my daughter, her "right of passage." 


Even though I knew (and know) that my children would and will make a series of mistakes (most likely much like the ones their father and I made), these are the things necessary for growing up, for maturing, and for living out the purposes to which God placed us upon this earth.


As a note, when my daughter ACTUALLY moved out, I cried like a baby. "I thought you said this was my right of passage," she said. To which I replied, "It is.  I just can't figure out where all the years went." However, her father and I are now empty nesters having the time of our lives, so it all evened out.


One afternoon, after the above-mentioned "home departure," my daughter called and announced that she was giving away all her clothes to the poor. Everything. She would keep just enough to keep her back warm, but everything else she felt called to take to the church and offer to those less privileged. 


After I recovered from the near-aneurysm this piece of information gave me, I asked her, "Have you lost your ever-loving mind?"