Getting Through the First Goodbye

All over Facebook and Blogland I see mothers of freshman students breaking down as they leave their babies on college campuses for the first time. And I wince for them, feeling the pain, just as when I see one of my kids getting a shot that I know will be good for them in the long run.

I was right in the midst of all those feelings last fall. I didn't know how often I would see or talk to my daughter. I didn't know how much I would know about this new life she was building and where I would fit into it. I think that's the biggest fear of moms at this stage. How will college life change our relationship with our kids?

What I found out pretty quickly though is that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder in this situation. Being away made her enjoy and really want to spend her breaks and vacations with us. We've had a lot fun together this year and I can see that we're on our way to that long awaited parenting promised land of friendship. 

College brought about other positive changes in our relationship as well. I learned that she makes a lot of good decisions on her own and she learned that her parents often have good advice. I got used to not knowing what she was doing all the time and she started sharing more about her activities. I gave up and let her spend her money without as many questions and she discovered that budgeting is important. I started to let go and she reached out. 

This stage of life brings a lot of changes, but they're mostly good ones. Once you get going, it really is satisfying and amazing to see your kids take off on this new adventure. 

So when freshman year comes, cry and hug and bemoan that your baby has grown up. I fully intend to do all that next year when I drop off my son. But also know that you're going to like many of the changes college life brings!

Why I Don't Want School to Start

Any of you who know me in real life are probably shocked to read the title of this post. Marie doesn't want school to start? That doesn't sound like her at all!

And it's true, that doesn't sound like me. I'm usually counting the minutes until the first bell by this time each summer! But this year I'm not quite ready to see summer end. Oh, I'm definitely ready to hear less bickering, but I'm not ready for...

No more sleeping in. Our bus comes waaaay too early at 6:17. Seriously, it's still dark part of the year at that time. Summer mornings are my friend. 

Less travel. This summer we've gone some fun places and the school schedule puts a damper on our adventures. 

Two girls entering middle school. That's scary. Girl drama in middle school is no joke and the thought of going through all that again makes me want summer to stay a little longer. 

Evenings filled with homework and sports practices. Need I say more? It's going to be hard to see the dinner hour shrink and all that busyness settle in again. 

And this...

My son is a senior. Freeze time and let's stay right here. I thought it would be easier to go through it the second time, but I'm already feeling sentimental at every sappy commercial and Facebook post. Finding an old photograph moves me to tears. It's not going to be any easier to let go of this guy than it was my oldest daughter.

Yes indeed, summer 2015 was an especially good one and I'm sad to see these loves of mine go back to school.

Congratulations, Dad!

Tonight I went to my dad's retirement party. It was fun to gather with my parents and their friends and celebrate. We're so happy and proud of him. It's a joy to see him enter this new chapter in life!

But just like most big transitions, impending retirement has its happy and sad parts. My dad described it as bittersweet. He said he's happy to be finished working, but it's a little disconcerting to think of the clock running down on your life. As his daughter, I refuse to entertain such thoughts all the while understanding exactly what he means. 

So Dad, let's talk here about only the happy things I imagine for your golden years!

I'm looking forward to getting to know you in a different way. I've always admired what a hard worker you are, but it will be nice to see you relaxing more often. 

I think it will be fun to see you and mom travel more and hope we can even travel places together. 

I'm happy you'll be able to pursue your hobbies at your leisure, instead of trying to fit them in during the evening or on the weekends. 

I'm looking forward to seeing my kids spend more time with you. I want them to enjoy more fishing. I want them to have more memories of swimming, playing tennis, and Christmas shopping with you. I want them to see you cheering them on at games and school events. 

I think you'll garden more and do house projects and spend time with the dog and be going so many places and doing so many things that you'll wonder how you ever had time for working!

May these years of retirement be blessed with people, activities and things that bring a smile to your face!