Wednesday, July 18, 2007


To me, the word "jumpstart" implies a quick action. A force intended to move things along at a faster pace than they would move on their own. A course with less obstacles. And I guess that's what it was in this case. The college where my sweet daughter will begin her higher education this fall had a whole day they called "Jumpstart." A day to start the college ball rolling. A day for registering for classes, getting lots of information on college life and some initial interaction between the students.

It was also a time which (here's that word again!) jumpstarted a subtle, yet profound, change in our roles as mother and daughter. Mapquest tells me it was about a 200 mile trip which took us about 3 hours to make. It was a pleasant drive to a new place in our relationship. We went from being mother and needy teenage daughter to mother and young adult, daughter and friend.

We made the trip up the day before the actual event so that we wouldn't have to leave home so early in the morning. Neither of us are really morning people and we probably wouldn't have talked much during the ride if we had made it a one-day trip. In fact, one of us would probably have slept the whole way!

As it was, we left in the late afternoon, just the right time to run smack-dab into Charlotte rush-hour traffic. In spite of the tense driving, we were able to talk. And talk. And talk. When we had finally gotten off the interstate and were getting close to our destination, she said the words to me that I will treasure for the rest of my life. She looked at me and told me she was getting ready to have a "mini-mushy moment" and said, "I am so glad that we have the relationship that we have. So many of my friends don't have that." Well, my heart darn near swelled out of my chest. All those agonizing moments of second-guessing my mothering skills, all those regrets for things I should have done, all that beating myself up was least for a while.

After that, we just talked about trivial things. We even joked about sex which is something we had NEVER done before. It was trivial, but it was different. It was during these conversations that I realized my daughter had truly become my friend. She has always been my buddy, my pal-around gal. But now, she was my friend!

I knew when I saw her walk down the aisle at high school graduation, that she was no longer a child, but the ride to "Jumpstart" was truly the defining moment for me, I think. We are still very much mother and daughter, a fact that always makes me very happy. I don't know why God chose to bless me with such a wonderful child, but I am so very grateful that He did.


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