In society, we often hear the words “never look back”—but as a mother, that is nearly impossible. We always look back; we have eyes in the backs our heads and we never stop worrying about our children—no matter how old they are. I recently had a flashback while visiting my daughter at law school that caused me to reflect on those words.

I was brought back to my daughter’s first day of kindergarten, 17 years ago, when I dropped her off at school. I was planning on walking her to her classroom and taking pictures, but I was immediately stopped upon entering the main lobby by the principal, Sr. Rita, who told me to let her walk to the classroom alone. I was stunned and a little angry as I stood there in fear, watching my little baby girl walk down the long, dark hallway looking so tiny with her pink Little Kitty backpack.

She never looked back.

My face streaming with tears, Sr. Rita leaned over and said, “It is best this way; she will be fine.”

Fast-forward to a recent weekend when I visited my daughter in law school, as we said our goodbyes on the sidewalk across from her school in Washington DC. I began to walk away toward the train station when I suddenly stopped and looked back. There was my grown, self-assured daughter walking briskly across campus with her large green backpack, and once again, she never looked back.

As a mother, this is a difficult lesson to absorb. I raised a very intelligent, independent daughter who literally carries her future on her back. The books have gotten much heavier, as the demands, workload and stress levels have increased, but she seems to carry them with ease and determination.

I stood on that sidewalk, once again with tears, knowing she would never look back and she must go it alone, as Sr. Rita’s words echoed in my head, “It is best this way; she will be fine.”

Carolyn M. Coscia

I am a working mother who has raised two young adults. I enjoy writing about my motherhood journey and about my children’s journey to finding themselves and their purpose.