I can’t believe this, maybe my last post before my daughter is gone for school. My Kallie is about to leave for school and my heart is grieving, hurting and my stomach is in knots. What can I say, except I am allowed to grieve, and allowed to feel this way, she is my daughter, and she is leaving our home when she leaves for college. For 18 years she has come home to me every day, she has been at dinner, part of our lives, the joy in the day, the beat that my heart skips when I see her and like a hurling punch to my abdomen it is all about to stop. While she certainly will be a part of lives each day, she just won’t be here to hug, and talk to the way that I am used to, so change is really about to sprinkle itself into the shingles of my home. What I am feeling is what a lot of parents feel, and it is not empty nest syndrome because that is hardly an appropriate description in a home with more kids, rather it is empty heart syndrome: the no person in the bedroom syndrome and knowing I won’t get to kiss her goodnight or see her face. What happens when she leaves for college? It is unbelievable that when she leaves for college our days of childhood kind of end and the new era begins and this scares the living hell out of me. This is my story of lavishly hurting inside and out, trying not to show the pain, while getting ready to say goodbye when she leaves for college.
What Happens When She Leaves For College
As I think of all the fun we have had as she has been growing up, I envision my little girl in my head, dressing up for tea parties, clocking her best friend in the head with a play toy, pushing strollers on the back street, playing in pool, bike riding, cheer leading, being the lead in a play, making confirmation, cooking her first meal and that first driving lesson. This is all so normal to me, because this little girl has been with me every day of my life for 18 years and we have spent so much time together that memories are something I don’t lack, but a heavy heart is quite rampant.
Honestly, this is gut-wrenching, I have this beautiful, kind-hearted daughter, who would help someone before she helped herself, the little girl who cried at The Polar Express movie because she felt so bad for the little boy is suddenly ready to fly on her own and I am not ready, but she is. I am not sure whether I should be embarrassed that I am so upset she is headed off to school or more upset with myself for even being selfish enough to feel upset, after all she has to grow up. I believe the line of packing up and really having reality set in is where I have the most difficulty because I know she is not going to be within arm’s reach.
I have been packing her up all summer long, and a bit before, prepping boxes, bags, clothing and gathering odds and ends she would need, but never really letting it set in, that the time is so near. The time I don’t want to face, because suddenly the flip flops she wears everywhere won’t be here for me to move aside, the smile that greets me each morning, and the face that sees me each day after high school is not here. The reality is I am not sure how I am going to handle all this when she leaves for college. When she leaves for college is not about me, I get that, but I still have real feelings and I am just trying hard not to let them out, so that she can become mentally ready to tackle the challenges that are about to become her new life.
Many of you before me, and many of you after me will experience what I am experiencing, it is just gut-busting hard, and I refuse to shed the tears in front of her, as she is already an emotional train-wreck with nerves as well. The road unpaved is where we are headed, and no matter how close she is to me distance-wise when she leaves for college she is not under our roof. When she leaves for college the bed she sleeps in will be vacant, the dinner table won’t be as interesting, and of course I am about to be outnumbered by men in the house versus women. Her smile that makes my heart warm won’t be there and of course the giggles we capture at night are counting down and restless.
Is it selfish that I feel like I can’t let go? I am so worried the world won’t be kind, or that she won’t know the answer. While I know the reality is she must grow independently to develop, letting that responsibility go is mortifying. I make sure everyone is accounted for, and I know where she is each day, at the end of a day, I won’t know and I won’t be able to check the locks on the doors, or primp her pillow for her. I am praying that all my lessons that have been taught, all the things I have suggested stick and that she has heard everything especially that she is now an adult. This is so scary that I tremble thinking about how it will all happen. Then, just ask fast as the tears flow down my face, I think about what my Mom must have gone through and I never knew. Her heart must have been heavy and she was probably pushed over with the terror I feel, yet she is fine and so am I.
I believe that when she leaves for college, life will forever be changed. The one foot that gets out of the car, followed by the other ends an era, a time when Mom & Dad were everything and always by her side. I believe that when she leaves for college my struggle is not so much with the “What IF?” factor, rather than Can I handle this change factor.
A photo posted by Dana Vento (@danadvee) on
The problem I have when she leaves for college is that I know she will be fine, but I know the change will be intimidating to me. Will I be able to be the MOM she needs, the friend, the new confidant? When she leaves for college will she need me for anything or will all that time just have passed? In the days to come, life is going to change, but even while it seems that the world will be upside down and inside out, I will just keep focusing on keeping the goal clear, supporting her in her new transition, because when she goes to college its time to put the last 18 years in a memory collection and begin looking forward to the next part of the journey. This is my tale of lavishly living life out loud, when she goes to college.