This last week, I saw my daughter off to China to attend the Asian Pacific Young Student Leadership Congress in China. I was struck with mixed feelings.
Great, great pride. After all, she is one of 8 students selected to represent Australia … it’s an opportunity of a lifetime and recognition of the hard work she’s put into her schooling and participation over the last 18 months.
However I was challenged by the fact that my baby, and regardless of how old she is or will be she will always be my baby, was off to China – without myself or her Dad. What happens if something goes wrong, how could I fix it? How could I help her when she is so many miles away?
In the long run, all I could tell myself was how much of a growth opportunity this is for her.
I can only imagine what she will experience, the friends and connections she will make and how her perceptions of the world could change. I’m not alone in this – many of my friends have said the same thing and are keen to see the growth too.
I’m treating this journey as the practice run for when she leaves home in another 18 months (OMG, it’s just 18 months!) to attend Uni. At least right now, she’ll be going to Adelaide for Uni and not leaving the country!
When I look at this brilliant young woman, I’m stunned at the changes we’ve seen in the last 18 months to 2 years. From an intelligent, but withdrawn, girl to an intelligent, engaged, young woman who is prepared to step up and lead. The other night, as we were driving home from an appointment, I remarked on how changed she was and how happy she seemed – and she stopped momentarily to think and then said “I am sooooo happy.”
We often joke that we’re pushy parents but the real truth is that we encourage both our kids to look seriously at the options available to them and make informed decisions. With Rhi, the process we began 2 years ago was a challenge but it’s reaping rewards for her now. Now, our young teen is happy and engaged. What more could we want?
Still, I’m counting the days till she’ll be home again and I eagerly await her blog updates to see what’s she’s been up to and experienced. You can too by following her (and the other students) on the APYSLC 2013 blog.