Nothing makes you scramble at reconciling your failures with your successes as a mother faster than those last moments before you leave your child on a sidewalk in downtown Toronto.
Did I teach her everything she'll need to know to survive this?
There's no way I taught her everything she needs to know to survive this. I need more time. Loads and loads of time. But, KABAM, out of nowhere we ran out of time. This is it. This is happening. So, what can be said in those last seconds that will armour her?
Drink water. Get enough sleep. Stay on top of your assignments. Do not wander down Yonge street alone, and definitely not at night. Be kind. Ask for help when you need it. Choose good people to surround yourself with. Stay close to the Lord. Say your prayers. Read your scriptures, they will bring you peace.
I can help you. Please let me help you.
Was she listening? Does she know these things? Does she believe them? She would say yes, she knows - there was a lot of nodding and 'yes, mom-ing'.
But I don't know for sure.
What I do know is that leaving her there was the hardest thing I've done thus far in my life. I wept buckets of tears every time I thought of her for days on end. Watching her skip off away from me, me getting into the car as fast as possible as to not melt into the saddest puddle you've ever seen right there on Jarvis Street. Driving away from her.
All of it was hard.
It's like someone took a chunk of my heart and said, "this isn't yours anymore." She makes her own decisions now. Now, I just get to watch.
Turns out I wasn't ready. It feels like I spent the last three years semi preparing myself for her to leave, but I wasn't nearly thorough enough. I missed the important parts like: the broken heart, the random moments when all of a sudden you remember you're here and she's there and tears soak your face before you even know what hit you. It's sort of hard to prepare for those parts because, well, they aren't fun.
She was ready, I was not. That is just how it rolls. Doesn't change the fact that it totally happened. And I was there to witness it.
And it was hard.