David Trinko: They’re ready, but you’re not

My daughter’s boyfriend recently asked me how I felt about her moving out of our house and on her own.

I don’t recall what kind of answer I’d given him, mostly because I don’t know how I feel about it. If he were to ask me today, I’d answer, “Conflicted.”

She is 21 years old and worked nearly full-time since she graduated high school three years ago. Within the next month, she’ll complete her degree in her chosen field. I have no doubt whatsoever that she’s ready for some freedom.

Me? Well, that’s another story altogether.

I can point to a dozen different things that make our firstborn daughter immature and ill-prepared, in my estimation. For the past year or so, we’ve jokingly called each other roommates. She’s a good kid, albeit a little messy, so most of that guidance involves cleaning up after herself.

Her spending could be a little erratic, with a surprising percentage of her income going to “remodeling” her bedroom every couple of months with new furnishings. Meanwhile, I worry about her ability to monitor and afford the life-saving medical equipment for her Type 1 diabetes.

Still, she moved the last load of her stuff out last weekend.

Then I tried to think back to when I moved out of my parents’ house. We weren’t dealing with COVID-affected education back then, so I moved into the discomfort of dorm life when I was 18. I moved out for real when I was 21, into my own place to live at my own pace with my first post-college job.

My spending was probably disproportionately spent on my passions then too, and I doubt I understood the costs of anything adequately.

In other words, I was young. So is she. It doesn’t mean she isn’t ready to live on her own, any more than I was.

I always knew I could call my parents if I truly needed help. I never wanted to, since I wanted to prove to them they’d raised me well enough that I could thrive on my own. Over the years, my relationship with them has evolved into more of a friendship than I could’ve expected.

I see those same tendencies in her. She wants to prove to herself and to us that she can survive on her own. I suspect she will do fine. I hope she knows she’ll always be my daughter, and I’ll always be there for her in whatever way it evolves.

Her bedroom will return to its original purpose, as my home office, moving me out of a corner of the basement and into the main living area. When I saw her the first time after she moved out, she said she bet I was happy she’d moved out so I could get my space back.

I don’t recall what kind of answer I’d given her, mostly because I don’t know how I feel about it. If she were to ask me today, I’d answer, “Conflicted.”

I shouldn’t be, though. I should be happy. I’m happy to have my space back. I’m happy to see the evolution of our family with the oldest moved out. I’m even happier to have a part in raising a responsible adult who is ready to take on the world.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

Subscribe to the Trinko Thinks So podcast at LimaOhio.com/podcasts.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.