My baby girl’s enrolled in college for the fall! We just enjoyed the two-day freshman orientation for parents and students at the University of New Mexico. Now she recovers, lying on the bed at my Aunt Marcia’s house, happy to be texting and relaxing at last (or whatever these kiddos do on those devices traveling the land of Snap Chat and Instagram.) And yes, I registered for Instagram, though I’ve yet to post anything myself.

Here’s my favorite thing that happened:

In the second day of the parent part of orientation, we sat through a presentation called “Changing relationships.” We watched videos of the stages of transitioning our relationship with our children to adult relationships. Before the videos, the kind short woman with long raven hair passed around a basket with Kleenex and chocolate. At first, I took only two foil wrapped kisses. But then I had to motion her back with the basket so I could wipe my eyes and blow my nose.

I felt beneath my nervousness, and kept with the feeling of pain in the right side of my body, wondering what was underneath it until I knew: I believe in my daughter heart and soul: Anyone who is friends with her is lucky to have her as their friend. I love her, I trust her totally, and while I’ll always be there for her, I know she’s got this. Know it. Know it and love her beyond anything.

And that is where this journey “ends” for me. And I don’t mean it wraps up, but it is an end point. This place marks exactly what I’ve been training for. To get here, I’ve had to grow and grow and grow and learn to love and trust myself, and learn over and over and over again to basically let go and let Hannah do her life, and it’s been the exact opposite of easy or even graceful. Yet it’s been full of grace.

Everything I’ve done, learned, attempted, suffered through has been to arrive at this place, this truth: I believe in my daughter. I stand by her and for her and beside her, and, when I can’t be with her, I believe in her and I trust her. And now, now, I can finally offer guidance again because she knows she can take or leave it and because now I’m only another resource, one of many. One of a world full of the good and true (as well as a few bad and ugly), but many of whom will prove allies, either for learning or to advocate for the light and what’s right.

I’m so happy, so proud, and yes, I am sad too, but I want her success, her empowerment, her happy and well without me and with me too. For I am among her biggest allies. I wish I didn’t have to say goodbye in three weeks. We’ve worked too hard to get to this place. And so it’s bittersweet. I am awash. Awash with this life. God, I’ve never been so grateful for anything. You know how much and how long I’ve wished for this human’s highest good. You know how opposite from me she felt and seemed, how much I struggled to love myself, forgive myself, so that I could accept this wonderful young women the way you love her. And I know you love me despite how challenging it was. You feel and you love me, imperfect as I am and have been, and you bless us entirely, both of us. For I feel her in me and of me and yet soaring away from me and so blessedly free. Thank you. Thank you so much. I have never felt more humble or more proud or more delighted or more aching. A job done well, for us all, and a departure of the very one we love most and best of them all. Keep her well and happy. Protect her from harm. Love her, guide her, Dearest Sweetest God, with all my heart this is my prayer.