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Letting Her Go
By Trish Fogarty
I dropped her off at boarding school for her 8th-grade year, knowing she would be there for two years. She was 13 and we were both soaked with tears by the time we said our goodbyes.
In the weeks that followed, many friends and acquaintances asked me why I would send her away. So many women said, “I would never send my daughter away.”
I understood how puzzling it may have seemed to other people, and I spent many conversations talking about why and how, and I realized I was making excuses, as if I had to defend myself. I think I worried that people would think less of me, they would think it must have been easy for me to do, or they would think I was a bad Mom.
After too much time making excuses my response became this:
“Don’t ever say you would NEVER do something, because the very thing you said you would never do, could be the EXACT thing that your child needs.”
Each and every day she was gone I missed her. Each and every time we were together was great, until we had to say goodbye, and then we cried. We spent time on the phone just about every day, the number of text messages we exchanged over the past two years must be in the millions! I made many trips to see her, to watch her play in her sports and to see her on stage. I brought her home for every holiday and vacation, and many an extra weekend or day, here and there, just because!
On her first day, I dreamed of the day she would graduate from the 9th grade at Rectory and knew that I would be so proud of her. That day would be my payoff. I told myself that on that day, I would know that I had made the right decision. Thinking of graduation day always made the days without her at home seem bearable.
Tomorrow is graduation day and the funny thing is, I figured out a long time ago that I had made the right decision.
I knew when she got her first A, and I knew when she made the honor roll her first time. I knew when I went to Parents’ Weekend and she scored the goals in soccer. I knew when she was voted captain of her basketball team, as an 8th grader. I knew each time she called to tell me something that she just couldn’t wait to tell me! I knew when she was asked to be a proctor for the summer program and was voted by her teachers to proctor a girls’ dorm this year. I knew when she signed up for her African drumming class, and I knew when she read The Perfect Pebble and was so impressed to have the author come to speak at school. I knew when she decided to learn to play the guitar, and I knew when she was excited to write her reflection paper for her final exam in literature class.
When my child, who could not read until the 5th grade, who was afraid to be called on by her teachers or asked to read, and never wanted to have anything to do with the written word, called to tell me she had auditioned to be the narrator and a part of the chorus in the spring musical and then took the stage with such poise and confidence, I knew.
I knew I had made the right decision.
Tomorrow is a big day for me and for her. I will be sad to watch her say goodbye to friends and teachers, but will be so happy to move her and her things back home! I am not sure where she will be come September, but I am sure that wherever she goes she will be strong and confident and I know that she will succeed!
I let her go because I love her.
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Editor’s Note: Trish Fogarty posted this story to her Facebook page the night before her daughter Margaret graduated from The Rectory School. Since then her son Patrick and daughter Kathleen have also joined Rectory’s family. Rectory shared this story with Trish’s permission; TABS is pleased to re-post with Trish’s permission as well.