For years, my mother-in-law had a quote taped to the mirror attached to the little table by her front door. It was probably something she cut out of her newspaper or Reader's Digest. It stayed there for years and every time I left her home, I grabbed my keys off of the table and looked up to read it.
The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.
I remember thinking about it after my older daughter left for California after graduating high school. She stayed out there almost a year before returning home and starting college. I initially cried in my office at work a lot the first week or two because I missed her so much but I kept reminding myself that it was my job to help her become her own self and independent.
And when my younger daughter had peer pressure issues with her friends, I thought about what I could do to reinforce her being able to take responsibility of her actions and make the right choices.
I don't remember what happened to that quote. It disappeared before I moved my mother-in-law into her assisted living facility. Four years ago, when I later moved her things into storage, I searched around that area hoping that the little piece of paper simply dropped behind the table. I couldn't find it and over the next few years, I couldn't remember the exact wording of that quote. I went to visit my MIL this week and she slept for the two hours I was there. I just read a book and listened to her sleeping through lunch. I knew she didn't know I was there but I just wanted to 'be' there with her for a while. I guess I just missed her.
Fast forward to a few days ago, while talking to my brother, I learned that I could search the exact wording of something online by putting whatever I wanted to find inside of quotation marks. I'm probably the last person to find this out but I tried doing it to find my quote. I wanted to find the quote that connected me with my MIL...the subject that provided hours of conversation about our children and our parenting choices...something we had in common...and I just found it! Finally.