Happy News … and Life Getting Really REAL

My baby is seventeen. She’s not just my “baby”. She is my ONLY. And she is seventeen and a senior in high school. The day is swiftly approaching when she will be spreading her wings and flying swiftly away from our nest and into her own future. And that is as it should be. I did it. My husband did it. All of us, at some point or another, did it. Unless you are reading this as a person who is still in high school, and, in that case, you WILL do it. One day. I promise; it will happen.

I know this is as it should be. I know children grow up and leave home and enter their own lives. And, honestly, I want this for my daughter. I want her to have a life filled with fun and laughter and her own memories and as much awesomeness as she can grab with her two hands and her amazing, beautiful heart. I think I probably speak for every parent ever when I say that this is what we all want. We want our kiddos to go out there and be amazing. And yet … we also don’t want this. I know. I know. It makes no sense at all. And yet, that’s just how it feels.

This weekend, we got some amazing news. My daughter got accepted into one of her two top college choices. Of course, all of her college choices are out of state from where we currently live. Much like her parents, she is not in love with the state of Illinois. We are still waiting to hear on her other early admission applications. But it was thrilling to know, for sure, that she will be able to go to a school she wanted to attend. I think it was a huge relief for all of us. No matter what, she is going to be off for a new and fun adventure after High School is done.

I knew this was coming, y’all. She has been walking away from me ever since she took her first steps. Because this is the way. It is the way it has to be. It is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way I want it to be. And yet … All of a sudden, this all feels so incredibly, unavoidably, painfully, really REAL. And I discover that my heart is not ready for it in the least.

I’m not sure how I am supposed to learn how to do this. I have spent so many years following her around and keeping track of her and worrying over her and needing to know exactly where she is at all times. In many ways, it feels like I have spent my whole life doing this. she has been my everything for a long time. Her little face was the first thing I saw every morning and the last thing I saw every evening. When my husband was working crazy hours at the law firm and traveling all the time, it was just my daughter and me. The two of us, against the world, so to speak. And now, in what feels like just a few short months, I have to open my arms and be brave and let her go. I’m not going to lie. I will still want to know where she is at all times. But I have to learn how to keep that to myself.

I want to scream out to the universe, “Not ready! Not ready! Not ready!!” and duck back into my safe little hidey-hole where I can pretend none of this is happening. And yet Life is marching forward. It doesn’t seem like it as we shelter in place and work from home, but it is moving ever forward. Life is resolute. It doesn’t care. It doesn’t wait. It doesn’t pause to give me time to feel ready for this.

And you know what? That’s okay. I’m not ready. I may never be ready. But my girl is. She is ready to fly.

4 thoughts on “Happy News … and Life Getting Really REAL

  1. I think the important bit here is to realise that we’ll never feel ready for anything—that job promotion and its added responsibilities, that commitment to buy a house, that marathon we’ve been training for.

    I’m certain that you and your girl will be okay. Wishing you all the best 🙂

  2. It is so hard and so rewarding and joyous and heartbreaking and so many other conflicting things all rolled into one. Seeing your child really becoming an adult like this. I cannot imagine having to go through it with only one. My freshman in college has saved me a whole lot of grief and heartache by choosing a school close enough he is here almost as much as he is gone and will be even more next year when he isn’t required to be on campus and will quite possibly be bringing his girl along with him, filling up our house more instead of emptying it. My daughter (a junior) is really considering going farther away when it is her turn, so I’m going to have to learn to toughen up a lot before then. Congratulations to your daughter! It is thrilling to see your kid get accepted to where they want to go and get to do the things they dream about. So exciting!

    • Thanks so much for your kind and wise words! It is so weird how it feels like I turned around three times and it’s all over and done. Or nearly over and done. If that makes any sense. Most of the schools she is applying to are pretty far away, which is going to be hard. But I also think it is going to be good for her. It makes me happy to see her excited about it all. I think one of the hardest things about being the parent of an only is that you only get to use that hard-earned parenting experience one time — LOL.

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