Independence. The process begins from the very moment our children are born. Each milestone we help them achieve takes them another step closer to their own adult life. Within their short time with us, they must learn to eat, to walk, to clean themselves, to communicate, the list goes on. If you were to give each new parent a summary of what their child must achieve and their own role as mentor to this new life, I'm sure it would overwhelm more than a few of us.
We watch them grow. We give them the tools they need to learn what they need to learn for their future. I never sent my children to school, so I delayed those first moments of sending them out into the world without me. Not that it is the same as sending an adult out into the world. We expect our children to be cared for by others in our absence. Adults are responsible for themselves. There are still people who will help them, but they must seek out that help on their own.
Marina is finishing up her trip to England. I'm waiting for the flight to land. For me, the hardest parts of the trip are the travel, both the flights and her weekend trip to London when she was virtually on her own. I trust her to take care of herself--she even booked a room at a hostel on her own--but that doesn't help me feel any more confident. She is out of my protective reach. I'm sure my mom felt the same way the first time (and the many times after) that I took the subway into the city alone. The "mom-instinct" wants to protect her young. She doesn't understand that her young are not babies anymore.
Worry about my child feels like labor all over again. I want her to be safe because we are connected as only a mother and child can be, but I also desire that she live her own life to the fullest. That involves giving her freedom and letting her go. As with labor, I will ride out the waves of anxiety with deep breaths and let it be.