As much as I hate to admit it, it is time to get things ready for Daughter #2 to return to college. Things are being packed, shopping trips carried out. Each of her meticulous check lists are reviewed item by item.
The past couple of days we have been working on her down comforter urging the down to return from the farthest reaches of the blanket.
When I bought this particular comforter I thought that it had squares sewn throughout the body to help the down stay put. What I didn’t realize is that apart from the outside seams, all of the squares had 3 to 4 inch breaks in the stitching on every side presumably to allow the down to flow through. The result–down along all four outer edges of the comforter and a very flat center.
It was a huge pain guiding batches of down through the gaps in the squares. We spread the comforter over the large coffee table in the family room and three of us spent hours pushing feathers and sewing up gaps.
As I worked I thought about how much parenting resembles the job we were doing. From the time a child is mobile their job is to move away from us, to move towards independence. They stray from the rules and boundaries we offer them. Teens especially move towards the fringe of family and tradition in their effort to find what fits for them. As parents we are constantly urging a return to the center. We round them up and gently nudge them back.
Eventually, they become adults. Then, if we are truly fortunate, we no longer have to nudge so much but simply wait for them to return on their own.