From kindergarten to college drop off...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

I feel like I'm a pretty balanced, strong person.  I've overcome many obstacles in life at various times and have always come through stronger.  I rely on my faith a lot to get me through difficult times...( and swimming ) I've even been told by others when I was going through the most difficult time of my life: " Wow, how do you do it?" "You're so strong!"  My answer has always been - it's not me, it's God or the Lord is getting me through this trust me.
Well I'm hitting the biggest milestone of my life right now and let me tell you two things:  It SUCKS and it's very difficult.  Honestly, there's a HUGE range of emotions I'm dealing with every day.  
My oldest, my daughter is headed off to college!  I didn't realize how emotionally unprepared I was for this.
Last year as she experienced her senior year there were lots of events that I always imagined tearing up at.  But...somehow I was fine. I surprised myself each time.  I teach at an elementary school and every year the seniors walk through in their caps and gowns and give the kids high 5's.  I thought I would be the one with the ugly mom cry going on. NOPE, I was dancing and smiling and gave her the biggest hug ever.


When she painted her senior parking lot.... no tears either.

Even her senior pics!!!!  I could go on and on - I document pics as I go.

Each time I surprised myself and my close friends with no tears.  I mean I had a few moments here and there like the first time she backed out of the driveway to drive herself to high school.  That definitely gave me a lump in my throat and a whole NEW SET of daily prayers. 
 Other milestones made me cry like when she promoted from my elementary school to middle school.  Prom, academic signing all those things I imagined being a basket case at but I was able to just enjoy the moment. Surprisingly,  I have held it together fairly well.

OK so I did cry when she gave her testimony at a Young Life event in front of a crowd...

Even college visits although bittersweet were more exciting than sad.

GRADUATION - guys I didn't cry!!! WHAT!?!?!  

Who is this person???  Anyone that knows me well knows that I'm VERY EMOTIONAL and wear #alltheemotions on my sleeve.  I cry at Hallmark commercials.  I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes but my waterproof mascara I made sure to use didn't even budge.  I was excited and proud at her graduation, smiling from ear to ear as I was at all her volleyball games, softball games and Young Life events. #proudmom
this summer when I was planning her going away party I had a good cry...a solid mama cry.  It hit me pretty hard, I had such a spectrum of emotions.  

I was sad, excited, anxious, proud and mad.  The anger wasn't about her leaving it was more about my own mom not being here to experience this with me.  I lost my mom when my daughter was in first grade.  Milestones have been extremely difficult for me ever since.  

One thing I don't like to hold onto is guilt of any kind.  It's just so unhealthy...thankfully I don't have any real regrets - I really don't.  I think it's inevitable to have 'second thoughts' as moms. 
 I had trouble getting pregnant and have had my share of 'female' issues.  I think that really made me cherish every single stage of motherhood.  I can vividly remember building forts with my kids and wondering as they got older will this be the last time they will want to do this?  I remember the very last time I nursed her and knew I would miss that special bonding time.  My 'second thoughts' include things like:  should I have made her do more chores around the house, should I have had her take a self defense class even though one is being offered at her college first semester, have I put fear in her that wasn't necessary or have I sheltered her too much?!?  All these thoughts come rolling in at this moment...

I came across an article recently that really resonated with me.  The mom talked about how NO ONE prepares you for this.  When your child is a baby - you get advice from everyone about putting them on a schedule, letting them cry it out, how to burp them.  People are more than happy to give you advice about the toddler years and tantrums.  When they are headed to school you get advice about what to pack in their lunches or how to resolve playground issues.  Where is everyone now?!?!  No one gives you any kind of advice when it comes to sending your child off to college.  No one tells you how to navigate these uncharted waters.  It's just a simple, congrats, how exciting, best of luck to ______ ( fill in the blank. )
I have 4 more nights of her sleeping in her childhood room right where she has always been for 18 years.  18 glorious years that have brought me so much joy.  Yes, those years have brought me gray hairs, worry, tears, joy, laughter - I could go on and on.  But what a joy it has been to be her mother.  It has truly been an honor and I thank God daily that he choose ME to raise her.  It humbles me.
Yesterday when we were packing up her room I held back tears, I needed a break.  Luckily, I had to leave to get my son from his SAT.  Later I shared my sadness and it's fine.  I was told by a few friends to not cry in front of her, others told me go ahead and cry and let her see my emotions.  I try to balance both, it's good for her to see how much I'll miss her but I don't want her worrying about poor old mom either as she's gone.  Again, it's about having a balance.

Instead of joining in the masses of people that just wish you well and say congrats I've decided to do something more.  I've had it on my heart to start a support group for moms that are going through this stage of life.  If you are in this stage of life and want encouragement, real talk, advice, laughs and inspirational quotes etc. feel free to join us at the fb group I started just for you.

This girl has my heart and the best thing I can do for her now is : pray for her, support her and encourage her.  AND yes I'm that crazy mom that will send her and her roommate care packages often.  
She is ready ( even though I'm not ) and I know she will do amazing things in her life.  I've given her her wings...she's ready to fly!

To all the moms that are going through this:  it's okay to cry and your tears might pop up at the most unexpected times and that's okay.   Ask any mom if they would trade in their sleep, dirty diapers or gray hairs...not one of them would do it.
 Be proud of all you've done to help your child be where he/she is at this moment and bask in it.  Great things are to come...

1 comment

  1. This is so lovely, and I am that Mom as well, although my twins are still at home. I cry at Kidak commercials (well, when there WERE Kodak commercials. I, too, am very close to my kids and as much as I want them to fly and succeed, I want to keep them home under my wing. I was older when I went to college and it was only up in L.A., but sometimes it seemed like forever away, but I could drive home for the weekend (which I did often, or even for just the day). Just keep in mind, she is just a drive away, no plane tickets to deal with, no delayed flights, traffic maybe, but still, it’s just a drive away. You can text and FaceTime (something that didn’t even exist back when I went to college AND I lived in Compton for a semester!!). I really think we would be great friends because we seem so similar. I look forward to hearing about your journey through this part of motherhood, I know my day will come! ☺️