My daughter just turned 20, and I am trying my best to give her good advice and point her in the right direction. It’s a fine line to walk between letting go and wanting her not to be hurt. But I have to let her go and let her make her own mistakes and be there when she falls. I am getting frustrated with some of the choices she is making so I searched back in my cloudy memory for my actions at that age, and I remembered that my actions didn’t always seem logical either. One in particular stood out to me when I dated a Greek basketball player the summer after I graduated college. He was 6′ 8″ , olive skin, green eyes and just enough attitude to make it all exciting. I met him at a job interview. We sat in a stuffy office in business clothes with 2 other people and we caught each others eyes. Hmmm, definitely interested. He stood up and went in for his interview but he had left a small notebook behind. I wrote a note with my name and phone number and a little message on it and put it in his notebook. Basically saying “call me and cure my summer boredom” as I was facing a long hot summer of job interviews and fighting with my mother, and sleeping in my childhood room again after moving back home from college. Looking back I can’t believe I was so bold. Well, as soon as I got home from the interview the phone rang and it was him. We had small talk as we made fun of the interview process and the guy interviewing us rubbing his stomach and eating mints the whole time he was talking to us. Then he asked me out. I couldn’t have gotten out of the house fast enough. We spent the whole summer together and he would drive me to interviews and then we would go eat. He drove a pick up truck and one time he brought some friends and dogs in the back of the pick up and parked right in front of the building and made such a commotion that the person interviewing me said, “do you know those people?”, Uh, yeah. They are my distractions from my life and they are working really well. It was nearing the end of the summer and it was time for him to travel back to Greece and he asked me to go with him. I love traveling and my answer was, “Of course give me 5 minutes to pack my bag”. But when I told my mom she would have none of it. She had met my new love over the summer but decided traveling to Greece with him was not in my best interest. I was crushed. We fought , and fought and fought some more. I moved in with my sister for a bit to get away from the fighting and cried and cried. I loved him, and wanted to travel to Greece and my mom was being so cruel. My sister consoled me and told me that I hadn’t known him that long and it probably wasn’t a good idea to move to a different country with him. Finally I gave up and moved back home and told him that I couldn’t go. I hated my mom. She stopped my summer adventure cold. He left and I was alone working at an office job that was stifling and boring. I hated my life. It took me a long time to get over my mom stopping me from traveling with someone I had only known for 2 months, but I realize now she was just looking out for me. I realize now that she was right. It wasn’t a smart thing to do. Thinking about this makes me sympathize with my daughter, she is so young and living for the moment and is not going to make the best choices all the time. And it is my job to protect her, and yes , sometimes she will hate me. It is hard being a mom. The love I feel for my daughter is beyond any feeling I ever could have imagined. The moment she was born a part of me became a warrior looking for danger and making sure she was safe. I would drive myself crazy thinking about the possibilities of misfortune that could come her way. She could trip and poke an eye out, she could fall out of her bed and hit her head, the TV could fall on her. I would survey every new room I brought her in to for possible danger. I have that same instinct now even though chances are she is not going to have a TV fall on her, but I still want to protect her from situations and people. But I have to start letting go, I have to let her make her own mistakes just like I did. I have to let her spread her wings in the world, and get hurt and learn. It’s really hard to do. But as she moves forward and learns to take care of herself, I can also move forward and learn to take care of myself again. I can relearn putting myself first as I did when I was in my 20’s. It seems so foreign to me now, but it is all there. I have everything I need to move forward in my own life and have my own adventures as my daughter has hers. I will always be there for her, but in a different way and the new way is healthier and better for both of us. I look back fondly on the summer I spent with my Greek boyfriend, as I remember the hot sun and us getting in his pick up truck every morning and just driving no where in particular and enjoying being young, healthy and beautiful. It was a great feeling and it is a great memory and I am glad I experienced it, even though it ended in hurt and anger. I can’t take these experiences away from my daughter. I want her to have her memories to look back on, because when I look back I smile and remember my spirit, my boldness, my sense of adventure and the hurt that I experienced seems unimportant. She doesn’t need me to be the warrior in her life anymore, she needs to become her own warrior. I can use my energy instead to move forward in my own life, and hopefully make her proud and set an example. And we can be warriors together.