My 17 year old is gleefully counting down the days, no, the HOURS until she leaves for college. Leaving the rest of us behind as she forges ahead into her dazzling future.
I did the college visits, kept harping on her to start the FAFSA, and the early application process. Sent emails and made phone calls to people working in the profession she wants to study, trying to find out where the best colleges are for that sort of thing. Talked about getting a job, being responsible, growing up…..
All the while seeming to forget that I was working on her ticket OUT of here. Away from me. Like…. away as in not planning to live with me in a permanent way anymore.
I must have been refusing to face that part of it for a while. After our trip to PA to check out a school there, I was telling a friend about it. I got a concerned sounding “and how are YOU doing?”…”Well, I’m…fine…. how are you?” I wasn’t sure why I was being treated so carefully and considerately. But I get it now. Because I’m going to fall apart, and my friend was just checking to see if I’d started yet.
I think now that the flurry of activity is over, I have time to really think about this.
And here come the random episodes of blubbering and panic, the desperate wish to freeze time, the happiness for her and sadness for myself.
I feel very much like a certain Greek father asking his daughter “Why you want to leave me???” with his teary, tortured voice.
I’m far from an empty nester, with three other kids who will be staying home for years yet. But she will leave a void and no one else can fill that spot. She’s my daughter, but also sometimes I feel like she’s my only friend in this house, like she’s got my back in a way that no one else can. She makes me smile on days that I am so fed up with the world, even if she tempers her greatness with moments of being a pure teenager.
I love that girl.
And it’s hard to know that she won’t be here with me every day anymore. She will start to change. She will come home on breaks, some weekends, and she will be itching to leave…she won’t tell me what she’s up to, at least not while she’s doing it.
And I will watch her transform into a real adult. A woman. Independent. And I think I’m allowed to shed some tears for that, because I’m so full of emotion I can’t seem to help but cry a little when I think about it.
I can sit here and say, she is EVERYTHING I could ever have hoped for in a daughter. I have worried from her infancy that I wouldn’t know how to “do this” right. To keep her close to me. I know what I wanted, it was not the relationship I had with my own mom…she and I did not have an amazing bond, and still struggle to understand each other. But I think I got it right, somehow, with my own daughter.
So of course I hate to see her leave, as much as I love to see her embrace her future.
And so, we turn to our usual comfort measures…