I sat on the bed in the hotel room and stared at the Apple laptop I had just purchased. I tapped on some random keys to try and make something happen. Where is the Microsoft Word and Excel? I have to download it? Huh? Where is the mouse, and how do I use this little pad to navigate the cursor? I got this same computer for my daughter a few years ago and I saw her click around on it with ease and I was proficient on my PC at work. So, why couldn’t I make sense of this? The keyboard was different, how I saved things was different, how I accessed things was different. And how the hell was I supposed to write a blog on this thing? I was frustrated, angry and overwhelmed. I couldn’t spend the whole day trying to figure it out, but I decided that I could spend 2 hours. So, I came up with a plan to learn how to use my computer in 2 hour increments. These were sessions that I actually timed and would stop when the timer went off. This helped me to not get completely frustrated and give up. Sometimes these sessions were spent staring off into space, other times I would get on a roll and things would start to make sense. I would drink a lot of coffee, eat sweets, and swear a lot. But it actually worked. And here I sit a little less than a year later in the same hotel room. The difference is, this time I don’t have the urge the throw this computer across the room. I am bringing my daughter back up to college, and she is sleeping while I write this. I am thinking about how much has changed in a year. I was scared last year. I was scared of not having my daughter with me. My fear made me cling a little too tightly to her. I wanted her to experience her new life, but not get hurt and so I would get angry when someone hurt her. I was too emotional and I was taking it all too personally. I have grown right along with my girl. She is so much calmer and more capable now. I see her maturity over this last summer as she handles herself with more confidence and patience. I love watching her. She is my baby. As soon as I got pregnant I knew she was a girl, I always wanted a daughter. I gained over 50 pounds when I was pregnant because I wanted her to be healthy, and she was at 9 pounds 2 ounces the day she was born. A part of my heart was put on this earth in the form of my daughter and I will forever be tied to her. It is a feeling that before her, I had never experienced. It is the most wonderful, terrifying feeling in the world. When she was a toddler I wanted to pad the world with pillows, and wrap her in bubble wrap so that nothing happened to her. She was and is my living work of art, my beauty. I love being her mother. As she grows, I grow. When she was 5 years old and went off to kindergarten, I went to counseling. I was scared that something was going to happen to her, and I didn’t want to be the totally whacked out mom following her around, so I knew I needed help. And the counseling did help me to get a handle on my feelings. My fear for her came from my own past of growing up in an abusive household, and it was my problem, not hers. As she went into her teen years, I am sure that some of my negative upbringing came through in my mothering and I am sure I screwed up by being too strict and overprotective sometimes. As she went into high school and had social conflicts, I feel that I may have been cold and unwavering when she was in pain. It wasn’t because I felt that way but it was because I didn’t want her to be hurt and I didn’t know how to handle it and so I became angry. Again my problem! I have worked really hard on it though. I have worked really hard on just listening to her. I hope she feels okay about the way she was brought up. If love accounts for anything, she has my heart on a platter and I would be completely lost without her! I am excited for her as she starts her junior year in college, finally not living in the dorm. I am excited for all the adventures yet to come in her life. She has so many possibilities before her. And as I watch her blossom, I am slowly blossoming myself. I am finding ways to express my new found creative energy that previously was wrapped up in her. I am learning to let her make her own mistakes and not take it personally. And I am putting myself out there to make my own mistakes and try new things. I am taking the time to get to know myself again. I am getting more courageous in expressing myself through my words and art. I can’t believe it was only a year ago that I had no idea how to type a simple document on this same computer. I learned, I grew, I changed, and I made mistakes. But the mistakes I made in the process are long forgotten and only the positive and good remain. I am glad I didn’t give up, I am glad I didn’t throw my computer across the room, I am glad I had patience with myself to learn something new. It was scary, it was frustrating, but it was worth it. When I first came up with the idea of writing a blog it was a vague notion that I couldn’t articulate. When I would try and explain it to someone, instead of words I would mumble and grunt and make a lot of hand gestures. And none of it made sense to anyone, except me. I just had to do it and see where it went, and that first step was the hardest part. But what I have come to realize is life is a lot like writing. If I were to try and edit my writing before I even got one word on the page I wouldn’t ever write anything. Same goes for life, if I try and edit out the mistakes and misunderstandings before I even take one step forward, I will never do anything. Every day is a new opportunity to fail, to mumble like an idiot, drink lots of coffee and google the simplest things such as “how do I write a blog?”, and figure it all out. And every day is also an opportunity to watch my daughter do the same, and see the beauty that remains after the mistakes are long forgotten.