From the moment that my first daughter and then her sister were born, I steeled myself for the day that they would grow up and leave. Yet their departure came sooner than I imagined: at 8 am this morning, to be precise, when my husband and I dropped them off at the stop for the bus to sleep-away camp; three weeks for our ten-year old (a first time camper), six weeks for her thirteen-year old sister.
Through the years, I’ve always wondered about the toll that my crazy seamless work-life continuum has taken on my daughters. Sure, I spent precious time with my girls, but at what cost? Too often, I scrambled so much, yet earned so little that I wondered whether we all wouldn’t have been better off if I’d shuttered my practice entirely and focused on keeping a clean house and an even temper.
Yet, today as my daughters left for the first, and hardly the last time, I realized that maybe the juggle has been worth it, after all. Even as I let slip how much I would miss my daughters, they just giggled and said “Well, mom – at least now you can work 24-7!” And while that doesn’t sound like much to celebrate, my daughters’ remark comforts me — because I now know that by keeping claim my practice (even when it was hardly worth having), that with this departure and the others that will follow, my daughters can fly free, unfettered by worry or guilt that they’re leaving me behind all alone.