Today we're traveling to this campus to drop our freshman daughter off at college. Our van is stuffed full of everything we could think of to create a home away from home for this precious girl that has shared our home for the past 18 years. She'll now sleep and eat and actually live here. She'll meet new friends and experience things we'll only hear about, if we're lucky enough to have her share them with us. It's the way it's supposed to be. Everyone tells you your children will leave and make their own way, and many a teenage day you wish it would hurry up and get here...but then it comes and all of a sudden it hurts to breathe.
But there's also excitement because let's face it, there's a great big world waiting out there. I mean walking those paths and getting to learn new things and meet so many people seems pretty enticing. And decorating a dorm room sounds fun! We've been collecting things and planning and I'm anxious to get there and see what we can do to erase the institutional look from her four walls. It's the part after the decorating that I'm dreading. I'm dreading good-bye.
A few months ago, I wrote about the joy and pain I felt leading up to high school graduation in You Might See Me Crying. The only thing I'd change in that post to reflect how I feel about college move in day is the title because today you will see me crying...and laughing and reminiscing. The irony of this process is that we're sad to see her go, but we'd be even sadder to see her stay. She's ready to be independent and we look forward to seeing what and who she becomes these next four years.
This is going to be a process...letting go and learning how to parent in a different way. If you've experienced this with your kids, or remember some helpful things your parents did, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. The first one is always the guinea pig, so I'm sure my daughter would appreciate any advice you have to give, too!