As I watched her car back out of the driveway, I felt the old familiar pain of feeling goodbye. Saying the words are one thing, but experiencing the pure devastation of the reality that she is gone is on a level that is indescribable except to the heart. I had no thought of ever losing her. I was so naive to believe when they placed her in my arms that she was really mine. Her wings are beautiful and her excitement to fly far exceeds my struggle to let her go. The house feels so empty without her but I’ll have this beautiful space where she remains here inside my heart. I survived her first semester and I look forward to hearing about all the adventures and new experiences waiting for her this semester. Until we meet again, enjoy this ride. It is your journey and I pray you take in every moment. Don’t ever forget where you come from but never lose that excitement about where you are going. You are only confined by the limits of your mind. Think big sweet girl and continue to fly.
We had a semblance of normal the last few days after my daughter arrived home for her first short visit since leaving for college. It’s hard to face the future knowing that everyday is a change in a new direction. It’s scary to break free from the same old, safe, familiar routine that has softly enveloped our small family the past 18 years. Change is frightening but at the same time, it is exciting and necessary. We learn to embrace the now and cherish the stability as we stand boldly in the middle of it. When we allow ourselves to stop reaching for the future and grasping for the past, the now feels pretty good. Embrace every day, every moment with the absolute certainty that this day will never be the same again. Learn to flow with the good, the bad, the happy and sad knowing that the next moment will not feel like the last. Life is hard. Letting go is harder but we can find peace by taking each moment as it comes and taking a deep breath as each today slowly fades to yesterday. Be present and feel it all but allow the winds of change to blow on through. You’ve got this, I remind myself as I crawl into bed and let today float away.
To say I am distraught and saddened by what is going on in the world is an understatement at best. I got a phone call from my daughter last night. She is going through recruitment to join a sorority and struggling to know which one is right for her. As I read the reviews on Greekrank for each one, I felt immediately sick to my stomach. They label them top tier, middle and bottom tier. I didn’t get it at first but as I read more and more comments I clearly understood. Top tier was known as the girls who had money. Those are the sororities with the biggest, nicest houses and bottom tier usually meant the girls didn’t have a house and I assume aren’t as popular. Why do we feel the need to label everything? Why is everything a competition? Why do we insist on breaking people down into winners or losers? We line them up on a podium and decide who has the most value based on our own warped standards. As if any of us are that important. We are disillusioned. This is why we recognize hate in someone else but are unable to see it in ourselves. This is why we readily crucify people for crimes we are just as guilty of. But there’s a reason right? We justify that it’s okay for us because our thoughts are right and valid. The hypocrisy is sickening and we are blinded to it and consumed with ourselves. We think everyone should think like we do and if they don’t we slap labels on them. We call them names even though we’ve never known them. We call people bigots who disagree with our own beliefs because we don’t even know the definition of the word. We jump in to insult or demean anyone or anything that is inconsistent with what we think should be. I’ve had enough. Yeah, hatred is alive and well and we are all puppets in a dangerous game. We want to compare in a way that places people and beliefs and religions and race and even sororities in these same categories. We lift one up and demean the others according to what we think is impressive or important. Back to the sorority…
I will tell my daughter this…rip the damn label off. Ignore it, stomp on it, bury it in the ground. Don’t read other people’s opinions or give them any relevance. At the end of the day, all you can hope for is that you find yourself in a group of people who make you feel loved and supported. There’s enough people who will line up to tell you what is wrong with you, surround yourself with people who tell you what is right. Choose the people who make you feel you are good enough just the way you are. Those are the ones who should be top tier in your book. The rest is all an illusion. Don’t play the game . Freedom of speech was not intended to entitle everyone to share every single thought and opinion. Be better and kinder and more compassionate than ever before. Define your own categories according to what really matters. Remember we are not meant to be places in groups or boxes. we are all individuals, different and beautiful in our own way. We were never programmed to be the same. Just keep being you. Dont ever adjust!
Move in day is over and done. I learned a very important lesson through the process of dropping my daughter off at college. It’s really simple but something that may not register until you experience it yourself. Don’t tell people how to feel. In a world where we think we have the right to tell people how to act and what to believe, it is even more dangerous to tell them how they should feel. If someone is sad or hurting, be supportive. Even if you don’t get it or you think someone’s reaction is a big time overreaction, just give them a verbal hug. We all react to everything that happens in our own individual way and some of us are tougher than others depending on what it is we are trying to get through. Let people hurt, cry or grieve and just be there to give an encouraging word. We all have the best of intentions but sometimes we think too little before we speak. This is a reminder to encourage, lend a hand, lift someone up. We could use so much more of that in these trying times where we are all just fighting hard to get by and survive. I am having a difficult time right now. I cried in the grocery store today when I almost picked up that fourth piece of corn. I cried at the dinner table last night when I stared across at the empty chair. My daughter is gone from my nest and I am excited for her but I am sad for myself. And you know what? It’s okay to be sad. It is normal to grieve. Time will heal my wounds and I will get used to her being away but for right now I will give myself a break. Just breathe. Today I will just start with that.
Tomorrow is the day I leave my heart four hours away. Only I could understand the emptiness that closet must have felt as we loaded her clothes into the car. My whole world packed into two trunks ready to drive her off to start a new life someplace else. It’s bitter sweet I guess. There is a part of me excited for the change about to come into her life but the mom in me, the part that kept her safe and protected for 18 years is breaking apart at the seams. My life as I have known it is disappearing in front of my eyes and I can almost hear my heart tearing apart.
Love them and let them go.
It sounds easy in theory but when you watch a room that was so full of her empty out, your heart can’t help but feel that emptiness too. Tomorrow I will leave her behind. Tomorrow I quietly wink at God and remind him she is in His hands now. I will pray that I did enough and loved her enough and that she is ready to step behind the wheel. Her life is her own now. Will she make the right choices? Will she be kind and compassionate? Will she be happy? Grateful? I can only hope when I feel sad that I will remember her like I see her today…excited, full of life, her face sprouting a gigantic smile as she holds her new Bluetooth water bottle in her hand and dances around. She is my baby going off to college, that same little girl with light and adventure bursting from her eyes, ready to explore the next thing in her path. This time though I have to have the strength and courage to let her do it alone. She will always know where to find me and I will sit quietly waiting for her to return.
These last few weeks have been bitter sweet. I’m trying desperately to come to terms with the fact that my first born will be leaving for college one week from today. Cleaning the house and running senseless errands has taken a backseat to spending time with her. She probably has no idea I shed a tear or two each night before I fall sleep. Life is about to change forever in this house and I am savoring every last second before it does. Love the people in your life. Appreciate every moment because time brings change whether we want it to or not. Pay attention to today because in the blink of an eye, it will be years away.
I have a feeling that last night was a hint of what is coming. I haven’t had a sleepless night in quite a while but last night seemed to go on forever. This is the second night in a row where I was awakened by nightmares that sent me into complete panic.
On Monday, we drove four hours to take my daughter to college orientation. I guess that’s where the reality of her leaving really took hold. I walked around this intimidating campus choking back pain as I realized this would be her new home. No more checking her bedroom at night to make sure she was safe and sound. No more rides to Dairy Queen or meeting her for lunch in the middle of the day. The world as I knew it was about to come crashing down around me and like it or not, I was not given a choice or time to adjust.
My heart is heavy. I am grieving for the little girl I am desperately trying to let go of. I don’t always recognize this new face or the body that is the same size as mine. Wasnt it just yesterday that I was singing Barney songs and taking her to the park in that beat up red wagon? In my dreams, my fear is in control so I make the decision to stay awake. I wrestle with so many thoughts I cannot control. How will I stand to live in this house that will feel so empty? What will life be like without her in it everyday? My eyes are tired and the answers escape me. I need sleep but it still won’t come. One day at a time I remind myself as I crawl out of bed drained and weary. One day at a time is all I can handle. I may not be able to take on months at a time but 24 hours is something I know I can tackle.
Appreciate your life as it is today. We live in a constant state of change and we have to embrace what is right there in front of us each and everyday.