It’s finally here. Today is the day. We have made lists, shopped, packed, filled out forms, and now we are going to make the drive to Pennsylvania to move my youngest daughter into her freshman dorm Tuesday morning. Even though I knew this day would come, it’s hard to believe that it’s really happening.
I still remember my little round toddler in her silky pink pajama bottoms with sprigs of blonde hair sprouting in every direction from her tiny head curling up next to me on the couch while I balanced a computer on my lap. I remember her little head popping up at the end of my bed just after sunrise when we vacationed, telling me she loved me and asking me if I was ready to get up and go to the beach.
I also remember the tough times—the temper tantrums, the refusal to sleep in her own bed or eat the food I had prepared. There was the year she fell and ripped her Statue of Liberty Halloween costume and cried off her makeup until I fixed it and we went back out to trick-or-treat again. Then there was the time she stepped on a cactus during a family photo shoot and we spent hours with a magnifying glass and tweezers plucking the nearly invisible needles out of her tiny feet.
Recent years were sometimes hard dealing with a moody teenager and a bedroom that looked like it had been hit by a hurricane. But in the midst of it all there were the hugs, the “thank yous,” the times she made us so proud with all her hard work, her compassion and her numerous accomplishments.
Parenting is a complicated journey full of mixed emotions. As I leave her here, in this place where she will learn, grow, and change into the amazing young woman she is destined to become, I will no doubt experience a range of feelings from we did it to how will I live without her?
I’m not sure how to answer that question yet. I will let you know next week. I have written more than 600 blogs on parenting for Go Ask Mom since we started in 2010. It has been joyful, cathartic, sometimes painful, but always worth it when I got positive feedback from you, the readers, who felt like you could relate to my experiences. As a writer, there’s nothing better than this.
So, after next week, after one final blog, I’ve decided to sign off. I hope to check in with the occasional empty-nester blog, but I am ready to concentrate on the next chapter of life, parenting from afar and reconnecting with the parts of me that came before I was a mother. Who knows, maybe I’ll even pick up rollerblading again …