“She’s leaving home” ~ Lennon/McCartney

Posted on 19. Apr, 2016 by in Brad, He-Said-She-Said, Uncategorized


My eyes were bloodshot as I looked in the mirror, god I look awful, I thought as I tried to smile at my reflection. I paused for a moment partly exhausted, partly excited, and yet filled with dread. Today was the big day! Last night there was all the last minute running around to make sure everything was packed, scrambling to find a certain pair of earrings, fighting over a different set of earrings, “you are not taking those diamond studs with you,” off to bed at 1:00 a.m. but not to sleep. Totally wired, I went over the long checklist in my head. Oh sure, we had it all written down and checked off but I might have forgotten something… How could he, I thought, my husband was sound asleep and there I was wide awake. It seemed like I had finally just dozed off when the alarm rang.

“Mom”, I was jolted out of my stupor, “let’s go, Dad has the car packed.”

Today was the day, today I was losing my little girl to college. It didn’t matter that she hadn’t been a little girl for a very long time, today was different. I knew on an intellectual level that she would always be my “little” girl but somehow things would never be the same again. I wondered, “Is this the way my mom felt when I left?”

We all piled into the car after doing a last minute check. It started misting and there was silence inside the car, except for the swish of the wipers and the hum of the tires. No one wanted to talk and I was alone with my thoughts. A wave of sadness gripped me and my eyes started to water, I stopped myself. This is silly I thought, I have a wonderful daughter, it isn’t like she is saying goodbye for good. I smiled to myself and tried to remember something I had read only last week about how to deal with “losing” your child to college. There was a list. Now what were they?

1. Give yourself permission to grieve. Internally I started laughing, wasn’t that what I was doing. It felt strange being so torn up but somehow it was comforting to know that others had obviously felt that way too.

Now what was the second one? Hmmm…Take time for yourself.

2. Take time for yourself. Ha, that certainly hadn’t happened yet. Oh well, next week I will have the house all to myself. Once again I felt my eyes start to water. Stop it, I told myself. I will be like Scarlett O’ Hara, I’ll think about that tomorrow!

3. Stay in touch, at the same time, don’t overdo it. Give them space. Really? How the heck am I supposed to do that? If I call her first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and at 6:00 p.m. that won’t be too much, will it?

4. When they come home for breaks and holidays make it enjoyable, so they want to come home! Avoid nagging or scolding. Sitting there as the miles clicked by, remembering our yelling, no I mean loud “discussions”! Isn’t that part of my job description, to mold my daughter into a responsible adult? I sighed, being a parent is so hard.

Maybe I had done a pretty good job after all. I grinned thinking about how proud I was when her cross country coach took the time to call me and share how my amazing daughter had stood up for and defended the slowest girl on the team when a couple others had been belittling her. Yes I am lucky I thought. I remembered the next item from the list.

5. Look on the bright side, your children are healthy, growing up, and taking steps towards a future full of possibilities that you helped create.

6. Let go gracefully, your kids will be grateful, even if they don’t say it. This last one I knew would be the hardest to do. She is her own person and has been, although I knew things would be changing. I can’t always be there to take care of her but I can do what my mother did, always be available when she needs an ear to air her troubles to, a shoulder to cry on when the inevitable broken heart occurs, and to always encourage and guide her when she asks.

I turned around to look at Sarah, she was looking out the window with the soft light of dawn making her face glow. I was shocked that she wasn’t texting! She turned towards me as she saw me looking at her. Our eyes locked and in that moment a vast sea of words unsaid passed between us. I couldn’t help it as I choked out, “I was just thinking how proud I am of you and how much I am going to miss you.”

“Ah, mom don’t cry. I’m only going to be 2 hours away.”

It was then that I knew exactly what my mom had meant when she said, “When you have kids of your own you will understand how hard it is to let go.”

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