She’s leaving me

Proof...she loves me!

Proof…she loves me!

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.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2002. Best Movie Ever. courtesy of

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…

little chocolate donuts. The cure for all ills.

little chocolate donuts. The cure for all ills.

Hidden meanings

It was probably about a week ago, I was talking to my 16 year old while she was using my laptop to play songs on Youtube.

You know that Beyoncé song….. drunk in love??

“Drunk in looooooooove”…. it’s catchy, really.

So, it’s on and I’m listening to the words, and ask “What’s surfboarding?”

“MOM!” “Oh my God!” You don’t KNOW???!!!

I’m referred to like, right now.

Oh. Well. Ok then. I’ve become my own mother. That older, hopefully sexless woman who should just NOT ask questions that might lead to a discussion of a sexual nature. And by the way, how does my DAUGHTER know what that means???  Because it’s COOL to know what that means. Because there are sites like, bless it’s heart, to teach her when she wonders the same thing.

Days later.

Although I don’t love the song, it’s in my head and I find myself just spouting off phrases. “I’ve been drankin’, watermelon”…… somehow  the way she speaks those phrases just sticks in my head. So we’re in Target, and I’m all “Surfboard”……. “Watermelon”……… “I’ve been drankin'”…… when that same 16 year old has to spoil it all by saying, Mom….do you even know what she’s talking about?

Duh. She loves her husband. She’s “drunk” in love with him. she’s been drinking. something that tastes like watermelon. Obviously she’s drunk. She’s TALKING like she’s drunk….. and by the way, drinking is bad, you should NOT do that. See what happens when you drink?? This surfboard thing. You should definitely NEVER do that……

Oh no. I am completely off base. Do you know that song is like a whole secret code for sexy nastiness? I can’t believe I am basically yelling out these phrases, around my CHILDREN for God’s sake…. and I have no idea what I’m talking about!! Back to Well, yes, that does sum it up pretty nicely. Huh. I had NO IDEA Drankin’ meant THAT. Watermelon!! Really??!! Oh. God. Ugh. And now I feel like I have Tourette’s and I’m just compelled to belt out these phrases because Dammit they are still catchy!!!

Why couldn’t she have just been singing about watermelon Vodka??

Lesson learned. Now I’m afraid to speak.

Sure, I might be telling you I’m going to cut the crust of your peanut butter and jelly sandwich….but what am I REALLY saying?? Better check that out… Or at work, “Ok Mr. Smith, I need to check your lungs and listen to your abdomen. Yeah… lungs… you know what SHE’S talking about….. I’m totally paranoid. I need an app to check everything I’m saying to make sure I’m not soliciting sex from anyone, or selling any of my kids into slavery unintentionally.

This is how I felt in high school…. I never KNEW half the stuff that was going on around me, just went over my head! Kept me out of trouble then, since I didn’t even realize all the trouble I could have gotten into. but now, I need to be in on these hidden meanings, for no other reason than to catch any of my kids who even think of getting away with anything shady.

Surely other people my age, my peers are in the same boat. My best friend, same age…. on the phone with her tonight. I tell her I’m going tomorrow to get a facial, and ask if she wants to grab a quick lunch after. Her response? 

“Facial… you said facial….he he he”.