Katie called, just to check my progress on the drive, to make sure I was safe. When she makes the drive, I ask her to check in at the quarter, half, and three-quarter points. I feel better knowing where she is on the road, knowing she's still safe. She now asks the same of me. This slight shift in our relationship brings tears to my eyes. She feels protective of me, too.
Just before the three-quarter mark, Katie calls. She is at her second job and struggling. For the last two months, she has worked noon to 4:00 at her new corporate job and 4:30 to 11:00 pm (or later) at her old room service job at the hotel, four days a week. Fridays she works only at her corporate job. She is tired beyond tired.
She is, she says, thinking of turning in her resignation at the hotel. When I ask what the benefits are, she breaks into tears. "I just can't do it anymore," she says. We work through the list of "pros" and then the list of "cons," and she makes a decision.
"I knew you'd help me think clearly," she says.
20 miles pass before she texts: "Thanks for the guidance, Mom."
At dinner with just the two of us last Friday, I reminded Katie that I am, always and forever, radically on her side. This sometimes means telling her hard truths, but mostly it means helping her hear herself, helping her accept what she already knows.
I wanted babies and children so much. I looked forward to all stages of my children's childhoods. I looked forward to being a grandmother. What I didn't anticipate was the pure joy of being a witness to their emergence as adults.
It is monumental, this joy. And all the sweeter for having been so unexpected.